Sunday 22 April 2018

Woman killed by falling branch is named after row

(Stock image)
(Stock image)

Tim Healy

High Court judge Kevin Cross has varied an order which it was claimed had the effect of preventing the media naming a woman who died when a tree branch fell on her during stormy weather.

Lynda Collins (45) died of injuries sustained when the branch of a chestnut tree fell on top of her on Waterloo Road, Dublin, on February 4, 2011.

On Thursday, Mr Justice Cross approved a €400,000 settlement for her family.

He made orders under Section 27 of the Civil Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2008, which the media argued meant they could not publish the name of her husband and father of their three children, Richard Collins, Woodbine Avenue, Booterstown, Dublin, who brought the case on behalf of the family, or of the deceased herself.

On Friday, lawyers for Independent News and Media, the 'Irish Times', RTÉ, Associated Newspapers and the 'Irish Examiner' applied to the judge to clarify the order. The judge said his order did not preclude the media from naming Mr Collins.

John Meagher BL, with solicitor Joe O'Malley, on behalf of the media organisations, said the actual effect of the judge's order was that no member of the family could be identified.

Mr Meagher said the father's name had already appeared in reports about the accident itself, the funeral, the inquest and in an interview given to the media by the father.

The judge said the effect of his order could raise difficulties in reporting the father's name and he noted the relevant law was perhaps more limited than he had allowed for in his order and that it could be strictly construed.

He agreed to vary his order permitting the naming of the father and therefore the deceased.

The branch fell on Mrs Collins as she was walking home from work. Passers-by made attempts to lift the branch off her including by using a school desk and a car jack.

The tree was in the grounds of a building housing a school. Mr Collins sued the property occupiers at the time, the owners at the time, and the appointed receiver over the property at the time. The settlement was against all defendants.

Irish Independent

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