Saturday 21 January 2017

Schoolboy (12) who gashed leg on broken glass offered €3,000 'for what amounted to a €30,000 injury'

Ray Managh

Published 03/12/2015 | 12:31

Harry Ryan with his mother, Ita Patton of River Valley Road, River Valley, Swords, Co Dublin leaving court after the hearing
(Pic: CourtPix.)
Harry Ryan with his mother, Ita Patton of River Valley Road, River Valley, Swords, Co Dublin leaving court after the hearing (Pic: CourtPix.)
Harry Ryan with his mother, Ita Patton of River Valley Road, River Valley, Swords, Co Dublin leaving court after the hearing (Pic: CourtPix.)

A 12-year-old schoolboy, whose leg was gashed open by glass on a public green area near his home, had been offered all-in damages of just €3,000 “for what amounted to a €30,000 injury,” the Circuit Civil Court has been told.

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Barrister Pat Purcell, counsel for Liverpool fan Harry Ryan, said that last week Judge James O’Donohoe had refused to accept the settlement offer made by Fingal County Council and had put the matter back for further talks with the local authority.

Mr Purcell, who appeared with Hennessy & Perrozzi solicitors, for the boy, told Circuit Court President Mr Justice Raymond Groarke that the offer had been increased by only €500.  When legal costs were deducted from the €3,500 overall offer Harry would be left with only €2,000.

The court heard that in November 2012 Harry, of River Valley Road, River Valley, Swords, Co Dublin, had slipped and lacerated his right lower leg on broken glass embedded in the green.  He had sued Fingal County Council through his mother Ms Ita Patton.

Mr Purcell told the court that Harry had been taken to the VHI Swift Care Clinic at Airside, Swords, and given a local anaesthetic while eight stitches, together with a number of steri-strips were inserted in “a gaping wound.”

The steri-strips had been necessary to attach a flap of flesh on Harry’s leg.

Mr Purcell said that in considering the offer he was conscious of Mr Justice Bernard Barton’s High Court judgment in a similar case that had been dismissed against South County Dublin.

In that case the court ruled that the expense and burden on a local authority in protecting members of the public from dangers on open green spaces, created by anti-social or miscreant behaviour through discarding broken bottles, would be nothing short of immense, impracticable and intolerable.

Judge Barton had ruled that anti-social behaviour was unlikely to be affected by the erection of notices or placement of rubbish bins and it would be unrealistic and unreasonable to expect the local authority to inspect thousands of acres of open green spaces more than once or at best twice a week.

Fingal County Council has entered a full defence denying any liability in the case.

Judge Groarke inspected Harry’s scarred leg and said he would agree with Mr Purcell that if successful the damages should amount to €30,000.  He adjourned the case for another week to facilitate consideration of whether it would be a reasonable risk to fight the case at full trial.

If the case goes on it will have to be heard by a judge other than the President or Judge O’Donohoe.

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