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'I was strangled by a colleague at lunch break'

A YOUNG airport worker has told a court he was defending himself when he "touched" the testicles of a colleague who, he alleged, was strangling him during a work break.

Radek Huska (29) told the Circuit Civil Court he was on a break with his colleagues when he had been attacked by workmate Machiej Kijve.

It happened at Dublin Airport, in the loading bay area of Gate Gourmet Ireland Ltd, a provider of airline catering.

Mr Huska told the court there had been some horseplay between colleagues. One had been throwing ice-cubes at him and Mr Huska had threatened to throw an apple he was eating if he continued annoying him.

Judge Jacqueline Linnane heard that Mr Kijve ran towards Mr Huska, wrapping his arms around his neck and dragging him to the ground.

Mr Huska, of Parklands, Northwood, Santry, Dublin, said that while he was trying to defend himself he had touched Mr Kijve's testicles and denied that he had grabbed him in his groin area.

He said his right knee had been twisted and became painful. He had applied ice to it before being driven home.

He was taken to Beaumont Hospital where x-rays showed no fracture.

The court heard that he had experienced pain and difficulties when carrying and lifting items and was unable to play "social football".

He sued his former employer, Gate Gourmet, on the grounds that the company failed to have an adequate system of training, control and supervision and had allowed employees to "fool around" while working.

Barrister Paul McKeon, counsel for Gate Gourmet, said the company denied negligence. Gate Gourmet, which has an address at Dublin Airport, had never been made aware of any horseplay between employees and denied there had been such a culture in existence.

Mr McKeon said Mr Huska at first reported to his boss that he had injured his knee while falling on some steps. It was later that he had claimed Mr Machiej had attacked him.

Mr Kijve claimed in court he had stepped in to bring an end to the horseplay when Mr Huska had grabbed him in the groin and they fell.

Mr McKeon said Gate Gourmet had introduced a disciplinary procedure as soon as it had been made aware of horseplay between the two.

An investigation had led the company to issue two identical written warnings to both employees. Mr Huska had refused to sign it.

Judge Linnane dismissed Mr Huska's claim and awarded costs against him.