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Sunday 20 October 2019

Journalist sues the Helix Theatre after fall on step at panto

Journalist Kenneth Sweeney
Journalist Kenneth Sweeney

A showbiz journalist who claims he dislocated his elbow when he tripped on a step attending a Christmas panto in the Helix Theatre in Dublin has sued in the High Court.

Irish Sun journalist Kenneth Sweeney told Mr Justice Michael Hanna he fell on the side aisle steps as he left the performance of Cinderella 30 minutes in to go to the toilet.

Pain

Mr Sweeney, who was sitting at the front of the Helix with his family, said he got up to walk up the steps but did not locate the first step and fell unexpectedly into his side. He said he was immediately in a lot of pain.

He was taken to hospital and it emerged he had dislocated his elbow. He was in a cast for eight weeks and was at the table on Christmas Day in plaster.

"It was a tough Christmas," Mr Sweeney added.

He said the second step was lit up but the first step was not.

Mr Sweeney (52), of Newtownparks, Skerries, Co Dublin, has sued Dublin City University (DCU), operator of the Helix, over the accident on November 30, 2014.

He has claimed there was an alleged failure to warn users of the stairs of a tripping hazard by proper and adequate warning signs or markings and by proper and adequate illumination.

He has further claimed there was an alleged failure to provide appropriate lighting levels in the premises so as to allow him to safely ascend the stairs. The claims are denied.

Mr Justice Hanna said the issue in the case was whether there was "a disguised step".

Mr Sweeney told the court he liked to play guitar but has not played since the accident.

Cross-examined by Luan O Braonain SC, for DCU, Mr Sweeney agreed he had been at the Helix many times before.

He agreed he had signed an accident report form as he waited for the ambulance.

Counsel put it to him that the form referred to him "rushing out of the theatre".

Mr Sweeney said he was going at a normal speed and he did not say he was rushing.

"I was in pain. I had a bone protruding from my elbow. I was in a lot of pain," he said.

"When these questions were being asked I was waiting for the ambulance."

Mr Sweeney said he saw the light in the second step and he asked why there was not a light on the first step.

The case continues.

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