Child's creche damages claim to go before jury
Claims for damages on behalf of a child allegedly assaulted and mistreated at the Links Creche in Malahide, and which was the subject of a programme on RTE, will be heard before a judge and jury, the High Court has confirmed.
Mr Justice John Hedigan refused an application by the owners of two Links Creches, Deirdre and Padraig Kelly, and the Health Service Executive to set aside the notice of trial before a judge and jury.
The judge set out the reasons for the decision and said proceedings arose from the alleged assault, battery and mistreatment of young children - including the infant plaintiff, Megan Walsh Bookey - who is suing through her mother, Julianne Cullen. He said they were attending the childcare facility Links at Abington, Malahide, and most - if not all - of the children suing the defendants attended part of the creche known as the "wobbler room".
Judge Hedigan said the Malahide creche was one of three premises which had been the subject of an RTE Primetime programme on May 28, 2013, entitled 'Breach of Trust'.
The programme featured footage which had been recorded on RTE's behalf in each of the premises investigated by an undercover reporter.
The footage recorded in the Malahide creche had been filmed in or around March 2013 and showed what was described by the defence delivered in the proceedings as "inappropriate" behaviour - where some staff yelled, swore at, pulled, flipped, pushed and generally mishandled the young pre-verbal children left in their care.
The judge said that, as set out in the claim, the creches and their owners appear to have been alerted to the various incidents of assault, unwarranted bodily interference or restraint, mistreatment and intimidation which had been witnessed by the reporter.
He said in addition to The Links Creche Southside Limited and The Links Creche and Montessori Limited, the creche owners were also being sued in view of the significant control that was exercised by them over the creche and the activities of staff employed there.