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Man wins damages of €80k after pupil burnt retina using laser pen


Dillon Breen said the incident had taken 10pc of his vision

Dillon Breen said the incident had taken 10pc of his vision

Dillon Breen said the incident had taken 10pc of his vision

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 Limited, 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 is understood to no longer be trading, at €80,000.

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

Mr Justice Hanna said the school, St Kevin's College, Ballygall Road, Finglas, Dublin, had been excused from the proceedings and bears no responsibility in relation to the unfortunate act.

The court heard the incident had 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 in to St Kevin's and another boy had accidentally pointed the pen at the eye of Mr Breen.


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 of this implement, it would have acted.

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.

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

He said in evidence 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 said.

Mr Breen 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 tic in my vision of the centre of my right eye," he added.

"It has taken 10pc of my vision."