Wednesday 21 August 2019

Dublin actor who previously harassed children's TV presenter settles €60k claim after she fell off stage during rehearsals

Frances Winston pictured at the Four Courts for a Circuit Civil Court action. Pic: Collins Courts
Frances Winston pictured at the Four Courts for a Circuit Civil Court action. Pic: Collins Courts
Frances Winston pictured at the Four Courts for a Circuit Civil Court action. Pic: Collins Courts
Frances Winston pictured at the Four Courts for a Circuit Civil Court action. Pic: Collins Courts

Simone Smith and Tom Tuite

A Dublin actor who struck her head on a stage as she took directions from her “director” during rehearsals for ‘Macbeth’ has settled a €60,000 claim for damages in the Circuit Civil Court.

Frances Winston (45) of Elgin Road, Ballsbridge, Co Dublin, alleged she had been studying a drama course in Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT) when she was involved in the accident on 27th April 2012.

She claimed she had been on stage taking part in a scene when her supervisor had instructed her to take a step back. When she did so she had fallen over, striking her head on a raised platform behind her.

In her personal injuries claim Winston sued Brian Forbes, a nominee of Dublin Institute of Technology, claiming she had suffered a bruise to her head in the fall and a second contusion to her cervical spine.

She had attended the Accident & Emergency Department of St Vincent’s University Hospital where she had been prescribed painkillers and muscle relaxants, she claimed.

A medical report noted that Winston had been reviewed on 21st August 2012 and it had been noted she had a tingling sensation to her right shoulder and arm. It occurred three to four times a week and had tended to wake her from her sleep.

Frances Winston pictured at the Four Courts for a Circuit Civil Court action. Pic: Collins Courts
Frances Winston pictured at the Four Courts for a Circuit Civil Court action. Pic: Collins Courts

Winston also alleged in her claim that she suffered neck stiffness occurring two to three times a week and pain in her head at the point of impact.

She claimed that DIT had been negligent and failed in their duty to ensure she had not suffered any injury while carrying out her studies.

Frances Winston pictured at the Four Courts for a Circuit Civil Court action. Pic: Collins Courts
Frances Winston pictured at the Four Courts for a Circuit Civil Court action. Pic: Collins Courts

Barrister Mark O’Connell, who appeared with Canal Quarter Solicitors for DIT, told Judge James O’Donohoe, before any evidence was called in the case that there had been talks and her case had been settled.  Terms of the settlement were not disclosed to the court and Mr O’Connell asked that the case be struck out.

Winston previously appeared in the Dublin’s District Court last month where she pleaded guilty to harassment of a BBC children’s television presenter.  She received an eight-month suspended jail sentence.

The District Court had heard that Winston threatened, via social media, to send drug dealers to the home of Ferne Corrigan.

Judge Michael Walsh had been furnished with statements detailing the online abuse of Ms Corrigan who came face to face with her harasser during the sentence hearing.

Corrigan, who had been supported in court by relatives, had been in tears at the end of the case. Commenting afterwards, she said she was happy with the outcome and hoped it set a precedent.

People needed to know this type of behaviour, despite it not being face to face, was not allowed, she said.

Winston was cast to play murder plotter Sharon “Lying Eyes” Collins in a 2017 TV3 reconstruction of that case.

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