Sunday 17 February 2019

Smurfit in hospital after hip operation, court told

Dr Michael WJ Smurfit. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Dr Michael WJ Smurfit. Photo: Steve Humphreys

Tim Healy

Millionaire businessman Dr Michael Smurfit, who was issued with a subpoena to attend the High Court to give evidence in a case brought by a former K Club employee, is in hospital, the court has heard.

The 82-year-old, who had a hip operation and suffered a complication, is in hospital in Monte Carlo, Mr Justice Anthony Barr was told yesterday.

It was the sixth day of the action taken by former K Club catering manager Peter Curran who has sued Dr Smurfit along with the K Club resort and a resort superintendent, Gerry Byrne.

Mr Curran, of Cahersiveen, Co Kerry, has claimed on May 7, 2011, his way was blocked in the toilets at Punchestown races and Mr Byrne allegedly said: "Dr Smurfit has not forgotten the statements about him and the call girls.

"Dr Smurfit knows where to find you and this is not over."

The defendants have denied all claims.

Rossa Fanning SC, for Dr Smurfit, told the court he had a hip operation on Monday and suffered a complication with a fractured femur which necessitated a further operation.

Counsel said Dr Smurfit is currently in hospital in Monte Carlo and it might be the case that his evidence would be taken by video link.

Mr Justice Barr said the court is going to sit for four days next week on this case and Mr Curran's presentation of his case may go into October when the next court term starts after the summer vacation. In those circumstances, he said Dr Smurfit may have adequate time to recuperate.

Mr Curran was catering manager at the K Club between September 1997 and October 1998 when he claims he was forced to leave and later brought an unfair dismissal case which was settled in March 1999.

He later brought High Court proceedings claiming alleged breach to his constitutional right to his good name and to earn a livelihood. Those proceedings were settled in 2008 and it is claimed it was an implied term of the agreement Mr Curran would not be threatened, harassed or intimidated.

Irish Independent

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