Tuesday 24 April 2018

Munster star Barnes settles case over alleged hotel incident

Danny Barnes told the High Court he believed his teammate was in the room.
Danny Barnes told the High Court he believed his teammate was in the room.

A FAMILY who claimed a Munster rugby player forced his way into a hotel room where were staying have settled their High Court action.

The settlement was made without admission of liability.


Thomas McGlynn and wife Janet of Hampton Green, Navan Road, Dublin 7, claimed  Danny Barnes (aged 23), who is currently part of the Munster Rugby Senior Squad, assaulted them when they were staying at a hotel in Wexford around 2am on August 17, 2008.


Arising out the incident, the couple and their son Karl sued Mr Barnes, of Ardrahan, Ardfert, Co Kerry, his employers Munster Rugby, Musgrave Park Ballyphehane Co Cork and Whites Hotel Ltd Wexford, Co Wexford, for alleged negligence and assault.


Mr Barnes, the hotel and Munster Rugby had denied all the allegations.


Yesterday on what was the second day of the action Mr Justice Sean Ryan was informed by Mel Christle SC for the McGlynns that all the cases were resolved and the actions could be struck out.


No details of the settlements were revealed in open court. Mr Justice Ryan welcomed the resolution of the actions.


Prior to the settlement, Thomas McGlynn told the court that on the date in question he, his wife and their two children were asleep in their bedroom while spending a weekend at White's Hotel.


Around 2am, he heard someone knocking on the hotel room door. When his wife went to open the door he said the then 18 year old- Mr Barnes, then part of the Munster U-20 Rugby, tried to force his way into their bedroom.


Mr McGlynn said that Mr Barnes aggressively forced his way into the room, and assaulted them. "My children were hysterical and screaming at the time." he told the court.


He said that after entering the room Mr Barnes started swinging at him. He hit Barnes with a "defensive punch" which floored him. He dragged Mr Barnes into the hotel corridor, and told him to stay down.

Eventually staff from the hotel and the Gardai arrived.


His family were so upset and distressed that a doctor had to be called. Under cross examination by Noel McCarthy SC for Mr Barnes, Mr McGlynn rejected Mr Barnes's contention that he did not assault the McGlynns.


He also rejected counsel's contention that Mr Barnes had merely gone to the wrong room, and that Mr McGlynn "had got the wrong end of the stick."


Mr McGlynn denied he had exaggerated his injuries in order to get compensation from the court.  He said any suggestion that he had fabricated the incident was "a lie."


He said that he believed that Barnes was drunk "out of his head" at the time. He also told counsel that he was "disappointed" the Gardai did not prosecute Mr Barnes over the incident.


Following the incident member of the Munster squad's management did speak to him to see if the McGlynns were all right. He refused to accept an apology from Mr Barnes as he did not want him near his family.


In his defence, Mr Barnes denied assaulting anyone or that he had entered the family's room. He said he just went to the wrong room on the wrong floor.


He started knocking on what he thought was his bedroom door after his key card did not work. He believed that one of his teammates, whom he attempted to phone, was in the room.


He said when the door opened he walked into the room, but when he saw Mrs McGlynn he stepped back. He says that he was then struck by her husband.


The McGlynns also alleged that Munster Rugby, was negligent on grounds including that they failed to supervise him, exposed the family to a risk that they ought to have known,


They further claimed the hotel allowed Mr Barnes to forcefully gain entry to their room, failed to prevent the assault and exposed them to a risk that they should have known.


Mrs McGlynn claimed she suffered post traumatic stress as a result of the incident which resulted in her developing frequent panic attacks, flashbacks, vivid dreams and stress.


Mr McGlynn claimed he suffered a broken bone in his hand as a result of the incident. Their teenage son Karl claimed to have suffered nervous shock.

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