THE High Court has dismissed a legal action taken by a young man who impaled his hand on a spiked fence while retrieving a football from a children’s play area.
Antone Stanners, 23, of Delmege Park, Moyross sued Moyross Community Enterprise Centre (MCEC) and Limerick City Council as a result of the incident which happened on the evening of March 16, 2010.
During a two-day hearing, the court heard while training with the Moyross United ‘B’ team on an all-weather pitch managed by MCEC, Mr Stanners scaled a ten-foot fence after he kicked a football into the adjacent play area.
Dismissing the claim, Mr Justice Donald Binchy said there was nothing wrong with the fencing and that Moyross United should have taken steps to prevent its members climbing the fence.
The judge noted that in his evidence, Paddy Flannery, the manager of the centre, said he had instructed the committee of the soccer club that its members were not to climb the fence and were to contact security staff at the community centre when balls entered the play area.
Mr Justice Binchy said the club, which was not part of the legal action, had developed its own rule of hopping over fence, which he described as a “manifestly significant obstacle with all of the associated dangers”.
He noted that only two footballs were in use on the night and said in the circumstances it would be “extraordinarily harsh” to find that MCEC had been reckless.
Earlier Mr Stanners described how he “got a leg up” from a teammate in an effort to climb over the fence which separated the pitch from the children’s play area.
However, he said while trying to get down his hand got caught on a spike leaving him hanging. He received 13 stitches at University Hospital Limerick and subsequently underwent surgery after being referred to a plastic surgeon.
He still suffers some discomfort, has problems with his grip and his hand spasms occasionally.
Lawyers representing Mr Stanners argued the incident was an “accident waiting to happen” while lawyers for the defendants submitted their clients shouldn’t have to supervise adults.
While costs were awarded against the plaintiff a stay was placed on the order subject to him not appealing the ruling.