25th October 2022

The Zoom contribution from Seamus Gunn opened up this morning with a discussion on the High Court Personal Injury action that was dismissed by Ms. Justice Gearty during the week when a claim taken by a competitor in a motocross race failed. The incident occurred at a meeting in a field in Portarlington, when the competitor sustained severe fractures to his pelvis which resulted in a number of weeks in hospital afterwards. Seamus Gunn agreed with the decision, explaining that the old maxim of Volenti non fit Injuria was applied, which meant that if one voluntarily assumes a risk and is injured as a result in partaking in an activity in which the risk is identified, they cannot then pursue a claim for the injuries suffered. He said that another point that was relevant to the case was the claim made by the Plaintiff that there was a failure to carry out any proper risk assessment of the area and the layout of the track and that there was also a necessity for a marshal at the particular bend where the accident occurred. It was explained that the accident occurred as a result of a collision between two bikes including the Plaintiff and that when the Plaintiff was on the ground the bike which was coming from behind, ran over him. He said that an expert had testified that the outcome would not have been any different if there had been a marshal at the bend and that this was accepted by the Judge. Seamus Gunn was of the opinion that it would set down a marker for such claims being taken where participants who are involved in high-risk sports are unfortunately injured. A claim for damages did not automatically follow and it was more likely to be unsuccessful if negligence could not be proved on the part of the organiser which was the situation in this unfortunate case. 

The pending appeal across the pond of Ghislaine Maxwell against her 20 year sentencing for helping the late financier Jeffrey Epstein sexually abuse girls was also highlighted, our contributor not being optimistic about the conviction being over turned and thought at best a slight reduction in the sentence may be obtained. He said he thought it likely that the Defence would further advance the argument that Ms. Maxwell was pursued by prosecutors only because Epstein had evaded Justice, a point which did not stand up at Trial. 

One of the most wide and varied Q&As followed with some emphasis on the family law division. All of which can be listened to below.