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Student left with 'melted retina' after classmate shone laser pen in his eye is awarded €80,000


Dillon Breen pictured leaving the Four Courts. Photo: Collins Courts

Dillon Breen pictured leaving the Four Courts. Photo: Collins Courts


Dillon Breen pictured leaving the Four Courts. Photo: Collins Courts

A man who claimed he suffered an eye injury as a schoolboy when a laser beam was shone at him has been awarded €80,000 against the distributors of the laser pen.

Dillon Breen (24) sued Syncron Ltd, of Rosemount Business Park, Ballycoolin, Dublin, which distributed the sky green laser pointer pen. He had initially also sued his former school but the case against it was struck out.

Mr Justice Michael Hanna assessed damages against Syncron, which it is understood is no longer trading, at €80,000.

Judgment had previously been obtained against the firm after it failed to enter an appearance and defence in the case.

The judge said the school, St Kevin's College, of Ballygall Road, Finglas, Dublin, had been excused from the proceedings and bore no responsibility in relation to the unfortunate act.

The High Court heard that the incident happened when a teacher was momentarily out of the classroom.

The judge said the teacher was entitled to be out of the classroom on other necessary business.

The fault lay entirely with those who offered for sale through the internet this dangerous implement, he said.

They are "to be condemned" for doing so, he added. The judge also said it was a dangerous implement which did not comply with EU regulations and should not have been offered for sale.

The laser pen had been bought for around €10 on the internet by a schoolboy who brought it into St Kevin's and another boy had accidentally pointed the pen at Mr Breen's eye.

He suffered a burn injury to his retina and a partial loss of vision in his right eye.

Mr Breen will have that impairment for the rest of his life and will have to wear glasses, the judge said.

The judge also said there was no doubt that if the school had been aware this implement was on its premises it would have taken action.

Mr Breen, of Ferndale Avenue, Glasnevin, Dublin, had sued the board of management of St Kevin's and Syncron over his injury from the incident on May 25, 2012.

He claimed Syncron had distributed the laser pen which had a level of output which was in contravention of EU directives and it was a dangerous product.

Mr Breen, in evidence, said the other schoolboy did not mean to do something hurtful to him when he shone the laser pen beam in his right eye.

When it happened, he felt a burning sensation immediately, he said.

"I didn't tell anybody, I didn't want to be a rat on anybody," he added.

He said he later had headaches and went to hospital where he was told he "had melted part of my retina".

"I had perfect 20:20 vision before. Now I have a tick in my vision of the centre of my right eye," Mr Breen said

"It has taken 10pc of my vision."

Irish Independent