Wednesday 26 June 2019

Trapeze artist (53) sues Fossett Brothers Circus over injury at show

Amanda Bratby from Navan Co. Meath pictured leaving the Four Courts Pic:Collins Courts
Amanda Bratby from Navan Co. Meath pictured leaving the Four Courts Pic:Collins Courts

Tim Healy

A High Court case in which a circus performer claimed she was injured when hit on the back by a piece of equipment during a big top grand finale has been struck out.

Trapeze artist Amanda Bratby  said she bent down to put on her finale shoes when she was struck forcefully on the back by a piece of steel tubing which was a prop which is normally used to secure the tight wire.

Ms Bratby said she had completed her trapeze act  and was waiting with other performers in an area behind the circus stage for the commencement of the grand finale when the accident happened.

Ms Bratby (53), of Coolfore Road, Navan Co Meath  sued Fossett Brothers Circus Ltd with offices at The Grange, Lucan, Co Dublin as a result of the accident on October 11, 2012.   Liability had been conceded and the case was before the court for assessment of damages only.

After talks between the parties on Thursday Ms Justice Bronagh O'Hanlon was told by John Mc Donagh SC, for Ms Bratby, the case could be struck out.

She had claimed there was an alleged failure to ensure a heavy prop was properly secured and an alleged failure to provide a safe place of work.

Ms Bratby claimed she was greatly restricted in her work activities due to stiffness and pain and was unable to achieve an earning capacity equal to her pre accident level  and was unable to do her trapeze act as confidently as previously.

She said she had three days in bed  after the accident because of pain said she  still suffers back pain and works at a petting farm.

She said she had expected to work as a trapeze artist and also with her ponies in the ring.

"I could have been a circus ring master," she told the court.

She agreed she did nine shows in Holland  months after the accident but could only do very basic tricks on the trapeze and could  not swing and had worked to a curtailed schedule in 2013.

Put to her by Fibbarr Fox SC, for Fossett, that she earned two and a half times more after the accident than before and how could she stand over her claim that she earned less, Ms Bratby said "I can't , can I?"

Following the cross examination, Ms Justice O'Hanhlon said she would give a five minutes recess and said another day at hearing would incur further legal costs. The judge said she did not think Ms Bratby understood the argument about her earnings.

After talks, counsel for Ms Bratby said the case could be struck out.

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