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.
25th October 2022
With the Fairfax County Trial of Depp V Heard reaching a verdict midweek, there was only one show in town up for discussion this morning and as it had been referenced on the last occasion, it was fitting that it could now be revisited with the benefit of the decision.
Seamus Gunn highlighted that in essence it was a split decision and that both parties had succeeded to some degree. He said that in this jurisdiction, such a decision could have an implication in relation to costs. But it was Johnny Depp’s camp that was hailing victory. He pointed out that the ceiling for punitive damages, while he was awarded $ 5 million, was $ 350,000K, which would taper back his decree. He said that while Ms. Heard in his view had credibility in relation to the allegations she was making, it did not matter how much mud was slung, as Depp won in the Court of social media. He was of the view that Depp had a well-oiled PR strategy that worked in his favor, it garnered massive support on social media which may have proved decisive in the overall outcome. He said that the reputational stakes were such that this was a case that Johnny Depp could not afford to lose. The case in England against the Sun in 2020 was also referred to and the different outcome in the UK jurisdiction. Our contributor thought that while Depp may have won in Fairfax County, there could be another salvo in the case as he would not rule out an appeal, although it would be unlikely to attract the same social media interest, as this had been fully played out over the past 6 weeks. He considered that it would be the “Wagatha Christie” Trial on this side of the pond i.e. in the UK, that would attract all the media attention in the coming weeks when a verdict was anticipated in Rooney V Vardy.
The full interview and the Q&A on some interesting land matters that followed can be listened to below.