Friday 22 March 2019

€20,000 damages for boy who saw mother covered in blood after walking into glass pane at rugby club

Damages: Grandfather Brian Johnson and mother Jill Johnson-Rice outside the Four Courts.
Photo: Collins
Damages: Grandfather Brian Johnson and mother Jill Johnson-Rice outside the Four Courts. Photo: Collins

Ray Managh

A 15-month-old baby, who saw his mother seriously injured and covered in blood after she walked into a pane of glass, was awarded damages of €20,000 for psychiatric injuries suffered.

Keith O'Grady, counsel for Jude Johnson-Rice, now aged five, told the Circuit Civil Court that in December 2014 the boy was with his mother, Jill, at Terenure College Rugby Football Club.

Jude witnessed the aftermath of his mother accidentally walking into the clear glass pane that had not been marked with any indications or warnings.

Mr O'Grady, who appeared with John Murphy, of Murphy Ballantyne Solicitors, Sligo, said the boy had not witnessed the accident or the glass shattering but had been extremely distressed by seeing his mother in a bloody state.

He said the defendants, Panda Play Café Limited and Terenure College Rugby Football Club, had already settled the boy's mother's claim and had offered a settlement of €20,000 to Jude, who had sued through his grandfather Brian Johnson, Alderwood Park, Salloon, Ballinamallard, Co Fermanagh.

Mr O'Grady told Judge Eoin Garavan that it had been very frightening for the child.

He told the judge he had two issues with not recommending approval of the settlement.

Firstly the rugby club had entered a full defence in which it had pleaded that the child did not suffer from any recognised psychiatric injury and, secondly, the mother had not taken her child for medical treatment until almost two years afterwards, telling the GP that her son had remained very nervous and anxious for six months afterwards.

Mr O'Grady said the doctor had found very little wrong with the child.

The GP had stated while it had the potential of being traumatising for the boy, there had been no lasting negative effect on the boy.

Judge Garavan, who said that while there was no recognised psychiatric illness diagnosed, nonetheless there were many cases that came before the court that did not measure up to post-traumatic stress disorder.

He approved the offer.

Irish Independent

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