Wednesday 21 February 2018

Court sits outdoors for claustrophobic plaintiff

Conor Kane

THE High Court has had some unusual requests over the years but yesterday it agreed to sit outdoors after a plaintiff pleaded claustrophobia.

"If the mountain won't come to Mohammed then Mohammed must go to the mountain," Mr Justice Sean Ryan said after hearing that the plaintiff was afraid to stay indoors since a road crash.

His agreement to hear the case outdoors is unusual but not unprecedented, with courts sometimes moving outside to visit the scenes of crimes or property disputes.

James Power (55), of Treacy Park, Carrick-on-Suir, Co Tipperary, was taking a civil action against Hegarty Metals Processing Ltd as a result of a crash that occurred on November 22, 2007.

The High Court, sitting in Waterford, heard that Mr Power had suffered a "very serious psychiatric insult" as a result of the crash involving his car and a truck. He was afraid to leave his own house and wouldn't go into the courthouse in Clonmel, Co Tipperary, when his case previously came up.

The judge agreed to hear the case outside Waterford Courthouse and all involved -- the judge, the plaintiff, counsel for both sides and the court registrar -- decamped outdoors.

After Mr Power began giving his evidence, however, he had to stop. "I don't feel well now at this minute. I feel sick," he told the judge.

The judge agreed that Mr Power could have his evidence taken on commission away from the environs of the court. The case continues.

Irish Independent

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