Tuesday 20 August 2019

Girl (15) who suffered an electric shock in gym Jacuzzi was 'used in a training video shown to staff where accident happened'

Seat of justice: the Four Courts in Dublin
Seat of justice: the Four Courts in Dublin

Ray Managh

A 15-year-old girl, who suffered an electric shock while exiting from a Jacuzzi in her swim wear, was, unknown to her parents, used in a training video shown to staff at a gym where the accident happened, it was alleged in court Wednesday.

Circuit Court President Mr Justice Raymond Groarke said he would be very upset were it to be proven to the court that the teenager, now 16, had featured in a CCTV recording of the incident in which she could be clearly identified.

Barrister Conor Kearney, counsel for the girl said that apart from her physical injuries her solicitor Blake Horrigan had learned since the September 2016 incident that she had featured in a training video.

Mr Kearney said the girl had suffered a very frightening incident of electric shock due to the presence of a faulty floor light and had been thrown backwards in the air several metres back into the Jacuzzi at Sportslink, Swords, Co Dublin.

Her mother told the Circuit Civil Court in a sworn statement that her daughter was in her bathing clothes and had just stepped from the Jacuzzi when she received “a severe electric shock.”

Her mother said that the girl had been brought to the emergency department of Temple Street Children’s Hospital where she had been treated for spasm in her body and hand. Since the accident she had complained of chest pain and palpitations and cramps in her legs.

While she had gone to school the following day she found she suffered cramp in her right leg during physical exercise and while playing a game of badminton.

Mr Kearney said Sportslink had made a settlement offer of €15,000 to include legal costs with an extra €1,000 for special damages but he was not recommending it to the court because of concern there might be ongoing psychological injuries arising from what had been a very frightening accident.

He said the girl and her mother had been upset to find that the gym used CCTV footage of the incident for training purposes without their consent and in his view this could lead to a finding by a trial judge that the gym had aggravated the situation with the potential for punitive damages.

Judge Groarke adjourned an application for the court’s approval for five weeks to allow for further talks with the defendant.

“I would be very upset if I felt that cctv was used in a situation where [she] was videoed in her swim wear for staff training purposes,” Judge Groarke said. “That would considerably enhance any settlement the court might be asked to approve.”

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