Saturday 20 January 2018

Couple 'in state of undress in tent' at Electric Picnic when security burst in settle claim

The Electric Picnic Music festival in Stradbally, Co. Laois. Photo: Damien Eagers
The Electric Picnic Music festival in Stradbally, Co. Laois. Photo: Damien Eagers

Ray Managh

A couple, who were in a state of undress in their tent at the Electric Picnic Festival in 2015 when security men burst in to search their belongings, have each settled a damages claim against the organisers and two security companies.

Stephen Massey , a 42-year-old driver and Niamh McCarthy (36), a consultant, both of Connawood Lawn, Old Connaught Avenue, Bray, Co Wicklow, had sued the defendants for defamation, assault, wrongful arrest and false imprisonment at the concert in Stradbally Hall, Co Laois.

Both accepted undisclosed settlement offers from the organisers Ep Festivals Limited and Live Nation Ireland Limited, both with addresses at 3Arena, North Wall Quay, Dublin.  The claims were struck out against them as well as Gold Standard Security Limited, Tamworth, Staffordshire, England, and Specialized Security Guarding Limited, Howe Street, Edinburgh, Scotland.

Massey and McCarthy claimed they had been assaulted and detained by security staff and later told, having been given a complete clearance by gardaí, that they were free to stay for the concert which had attracted more than 50,000 picnickers.

The couple had decided following their experience to fold up tent and leave.  The Electric Picnic Festival takes place again this year at Stradbally from September 1st and 3rd and has been a sell-out.

In joint proceedings against all four defendants the couple alleged that on September 5, 2015 they were at the boutique camping section when security staff unlawfully entered their tent, demanding they leave until it was searched.

Massey alleged he had been beaten, pinioned and knocked to the ground before having been dragged to a Jeep and taken to gardaí, who directed his release, while his girlfriend had been assaulted when restrained by security staff from leaving to use a toilet.

Both plaintiffs alleged they had been shocked and distressed and very frightened by the unlawful entry by security staff and a number of other campers had opened their tents to see what was going on. Both had later attended with and sought treatment from their doctors.

Michael Byrne S.C., who appeared with barrister John Nolan and Tracey Solicitors for the couple, told Mr Justice Kevin Cross in the High Court that the cases had been settled and could be struck out against all defendants.

In October last year judgment in default of appearance had been granted against Gold Standard Security.  A security guard who had been prosecuted by gardai for assault had been convicted and ordered to pay the couple €4,000.

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