Diabetic who had Lucozade confiscated at Belfast concert gets payout of £2,000
A student with diabetes has been awarded £2,000 in compensation after bringing a discrimination case against a company that supplied security staff at Tennent's Vital in 2016.
Kayla Hanna from south Belfast was heading to the annual music festival to sees Red Hot Chili Peppers when her Lucozade bottle was confiscated by bouncers as she made her way into Boucher Road playing fields on August 25, 2016.
Ms Hanna, who was 18 and studying music at Belfast Metropolitan College at the time, told yesterday how she had informed a security staff member employed by Eventsec Ltd that she needed the drink because of her Type 1 diabetes.
"I carry Lucozade with me at all times as it gives me the glucose I need if my blood sugar levels go down," she explained.
"When the security guard told me I couldn't bring the bottle in I told her of my condition and showed her the tattoos on my wrist which indicate I have diabetes."
Despite subsequently presenting her insulin pack, and her device to check her blood sugar levels, Ms Hanna said the security guard still refused her admission with the bottle.
"She consulted with another guard and they insisted that they had a strict policy and they would not allow me to bring the drink inside," she said.
The 20-year-old, who is due to start university in England this September, said the refusal, which had never happened before at previous concerts, left her "anxious and upset".
Following the concert she contacted the Equality Commission, which assisted in bringing a case against Eventsec Ltd alleging a breach of the Disability Discrimination Act, which was heard at Belfast County Court on June 8 by Judge Gilpin, the outcome of which has only been made public.
The judge explained that Eventsec Ltd had failed to provide a reasonable adjustment to its policy of not allowing liquids to be brought into the concert that day.
However, Eventsec stressed in a statement yesterday that it was an "isolated" incident, and was "pleased" Ms Hanna revealed in her evidence that she had attended "many other concerts" which the company had provided security for without any problems whatsoever.
Meanwhile, the decision was welcomed by Mary Kitson, senior legal officer from the Equality Commission.
She said that in this case alternative arrangements should have been made to ensure Ms Hanna could have access to Lucozade during the concert if she required it.
Ms Hanna said that now the case had been concluded, incidents like the one she experienced "won't happen again to me or other people who live with diabetes".
Eventsec said that it was "disappointed" by the outcome of the case but "heartened" by the judge's acknowledgement that the company had considered what "reasonable adjustments" were required for patrons with diabetes.
"Our normal practice when implemented is in compliance with our duty to make reasonable adjustments under the Disability Discrimination Act," the company explained.
Eventsec also reminded concert-goers with medical conditions which were managed by food and drink to contact the concert promoter ahead of the event.
In addition, it said that medical facilities were available.