Wednesday 23 October 2019

Woman awarded €25k after being 'violently expelled' from nightclub by 'out of control' bouncers

Eva Hawthorn, 39yrs, of Ashton Drive, Ashton Broc, Swords, Co. Dublin pictured leaving the Four Courts after her Circuit Civil Court action. Pic: Collins Courts
Eva Hawthorn, 39yrs, of Ashton Drive, Ashton Broc, Swords, Co. Dublin pictured leaving the Four Courts after her Circuit Civil Court action. Pic: Collins Courts

Ray Managh

Bouncers who threw a woman and her boyfriend from a night club were out of control and acting as though they were taking part in some form of blood sport, a judge said on Thursday when he awarded the woman €25,000 damages.

Circuit Court President Mr Justice Raymond Groarke said that 35-year-old Eva Hawthorn had been grabbed by a bouncer in Wright’s Venue Nightclub on March 1, 2014 and knocked against steps beside the dance floor.

He heard that Ms Hawthorn, of Ashton Drive, Asthonbroc, Swords, Co Dublin, and her now former boyfriend, Andrew Lynch, had been violently expelled from the nightclub at Airside, Swords.

Judge Groarke said she had been grabbed in a bear hug by 6ft 2in twenty stones Viktor Rybakob and taken to the entrance where she had been thrown through the air by another unidentified bouncer.

Barrister Pat O’Brien, who appeared with Tony Hughes Solicitors for Ms Hawthorn, told the court that his client, who is now aged 39, suffered a bloody gash to her nose and body bruising due to an unprovoked assault by bouncer Tomas Lukasz.

She had sued I-Secure Risk Management Limited, in liquidation, of Blanchardstown, Dublin, against whom judgment had already been obtained, and Wrights Café Bar Airside Limited, Unit 7G, Seatown Road, Swords, for €60,000 damages for assault and battery.

Rybakob, who told Judge Groarke he was 6ft 2 inches and 20 stones, said that at one stage Ms Hawthorn, stated in court to be 5ft 4ins and six stones, had been on his back giving him digs and choking him from behind as he restrained Lynch on the floor.

Judge Groarke said there had been a degree of violence by two bouncers against Ms Hawthorn and Mr Lynch which was in no way commensurate with the aggression the couple were alleged to have been showing towards them.

The Judge described Lukasz as a large man and Rybakob as “a giant of Celtic proportions” and said that at one stage both of them and another slimmer bouncer were lying on top of Mr Lynch.

He said he had heard no evidence that the bouncers concerned were registered security personnel or that they had ever received any training to fit them for their work.  He said the court had cctv evidence of Mr Lukasz making a movement to his right coinciding with Ms Hawthorn falling to the floor which indicated an assault on her.

“It is inescapable in my view that this is what happened in the nightclub and constitutes assault,” Judge Groarke said.

Judge Groarke said Mr Lynch had reacted in a very aggressive fashion, particularly outside the club, and the court would like to think that he was not proud of what he had done.

“What I have here is an attitude of mind on the part of these bouncers which is exhibited by the manner in which Ms Hawthorn is expelled from premises at the very end,” he said.

“She seems to be thrown into the air quite a distance and all because she has annoyed a bouncer.  It was an act of aggression and revenge on the part of the security officers in the simple context of ‘how dare you speak or act toward us in that fashion,’” Judge Groarke said.

Judge Groarke said the bouncers were out of control and had been careless and heedless about the potential consequences of their actions to Ms Hawthorn and Mr Lynch.

“If that wasn’t enough it is clear to me that when these people are expelled there is great delight on the faces of the security men involved as if it were a form of blood sport on their part,” Judge Groarke said. “This was a sport and they were tapping one another on the back and smiling.  They were out of control.”

He said Ms Hawthorn had not contributed to what had happened.  With regard to an incident about her handbag she had perhaps not been as mannerly as she might have been. She had later got involved in the protection of her boyfriend who had two huge men sitting on him.

Awarding Ms Hawthorn €25,000 damages and her costs, Judge Groarke said she had a scar on the bridge of her nose and had suffered aches and pains and psychological damage.

“As far as the issue of liability is concerned, judgment has been entered against the first defendant but there is no evidence that the second defendant acted in any supervisory capacity and is equally liable,” Judge Groarke said.

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