Monday 23 September 2019

Showbiz reporter sues theatre over injury at Christmas panto

‘Tough Christmas’: Reporter Ken Sweeney said his elbow was in a plaster cast during his Chistmas dinner. Photo: Courtpix
‘Tough Christmas’: Reporter Ken Sweeney said his elbow was in a plaster cast during his Chistmas dinner. Photo: Courtpix

Tim Healy

A showbusiness journalist is suing the Helix Theatre, claiming he dislocated his elbow when he tripped on a step while attending a Christmas panto.

'Irish Sun' journalist Kenneth Sweeney told Mr Justice Michael Hanna in the High Court he fell on the side aisle steps as he left the performance of 'Cinderella' 30 minutes in to go to the toilet.

Mr Sweeney, who was sitting at the front of the Helix, said he got up to walk up the steps but did not locate the first step and fell unexpectedly on to his side.

He said he was immediately in a lot of pain.

He was taken to hospital and it emerged he had dislocated his elbow. He was in a cast for eight weeks and was at the dinner table on Christmas Day in plaster. "It was a tough Christmas," he added.

He said the second step was lit up but the first step was not.

Mr Sweeney (52) of Newtownparks, Skerries, Co Dublin, is suing Dublin City University, the operators of the Helix, over the accident on November 30, 2014.

He claims there was an alleged failure to warn users of a tripping hazard by proper and adequate warning signs or markings and by proper and adequate illumination.

Mr Sweeney has further claimed there was an alleged failure to provide appropriate lighting levels so as to allow him to safely ascend the stairs.

The claims are denied.

Mr Justice Hanna said the issue is "was there was a disguised step".

Mr Sweeney told the court he likes to play guitar but has not played since the accident.

Cross-examined by Luan O'Braonain SC, for DCU, Mr Sweeney agreed he had been at the Helix on many occasions before. He agreed he had signed an accident report form as he waited for the ambulance.

Counsel put it to him that the form referred to him "rushing out of the theatre". Mr Sweeney said he was going at a normal speed and he did not say he was rushing.

"I was in pain. I had a bone protruding from my elbow. I was in a lot of pain," he said.

"When these questions were being asked I was waiting for the ambulance."

The case continues.

Irish Independent

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