Wednesday 16 October 2019

Dance teacher who lost High Court action after she was injured on rollercoaster boat ride faces large legal bill

Siobhan Kellett, of Maynooth, Co Kildare, leaving the Four Courts after the opening day of her action. Photo: Collins Courts
Siobhan Kellett, of Maynooth, Co Kildare, leaving the Four Courts after the opening day of her action. Photo: Collins Courts

Tim Healy

A woman who fractured her elbow during a 'White Knuckle Jet Boat Thrill Ride' in the Caribbean now faces a large legal costs bill after losing a High Court action.

Mr Justice Anthony Barr ruled today that dance teacher Siobhan Kellett (53) must pay all legal costs of her failed two-day action before the High Court.

But the judge granted a stay on the costs order for 28 days in case an appeal is lodged.

Ms Kellett was on a seven-night €3,674 Caribbean cruise to celebrate her 50th birthday along with her silver wedding anniversary when the accident happened during a shore excursion.

Siobhan Kellett, of Rockfield Green, Maynooth, Co Kildare pictured at the Four Courts Pic: Collins Courts
Siobhan Kellett, of Rockfield Green, Maynooth, Co Kildare pictured at the Four Courts Pic: Collins Courts

She said she was thrown out of her seat and banged her elbow against the metal side of the jet boat during two 360-degree manoeuvres of the White Knuckle Boat Ride, when the couple took the pre-booked excursion when their cruise ship docked at Sint Maarten in the West Indies.

Siobhan Kellett - of Rockfield Green in Maynooth, Co Kildare - had sued British company RCL Cruises Ltd of  Weybridge, Surrey, who operated the cruise ship 'Freedom of the Seas' and the 'The White Knuckle Boat Ride' in Sint Maarten in the West Indies.

She also sued Panther Associates Ltd, trading as Tour America of Middle Abbey Street, Dublin, where she booked the April 2016 holiday.

She claimed there was an alleged failure to provide any adequate safety restraints, harness or belts on the jet boat to ensure passengers were kept safe from injury.

The claims were denied.

Earlier this month,Mr Justice Barr dismissed Ms Kellett’s action against the cruise operator and the travel company where she booked her holiday. The judge said he could not find that Ms Kellett's injury happened as a result of any negligence on the part of the excursion operators in relation to the condition of the boat and he could not find there was any liability on the part of the defendants.

Finding there was no negligence for failure to provide restraints like a harness,  Mr Justice Barr said given the risk of capsize, one could not have such restraints in use on a boat as that could lead to fatalities if the boat were to capsize.

The judge found there was no negligence in the failure to provide sidebars and the judge said he declined to find the boat owner was negligent for failing to put padding along the side of the boat.

Mr Justice Barr also ruled he could not hold the injuries suffered were attributable to any negligence on the part of Ms Kellett.

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