Belfast Telegraph

High Court: Boy refused damages after school accident

By Alan Erwin

A boy partially blinded after being hit in the eye by a classmate waving her fairy wand during a dress rehearsal for a school play has lost a High Court battle for damages.

The child's family had sued the Western Education and Library Board for alleged negligence over the accident which occurred when he was aged nine in 2009.

Mr Justice Stephens yesterday backed their account that he did lose the sight in his left eye because of being struck by the girl said to have been acting out casting a spell at the time.

However, he held that the teachers at the primary school in Co Londonderry had properly assessed the wand and supervised the rehearsal.

Dismissing the claim, the judge said: "I do not consider the plaintiff has established any fault on the part of the defendant."

The boy at the centre of the action had been onstage at the time with up to 200 other pupils getting ready for a production of their school play.

The court heard another girl dressed as a fairy had been allowed to carry a wand with a star on it which allegedly inflicted the injury.

Delivering judgment yesterday, Mr Justice Stephens praised the boy and his mother for the honesty of their evidence.

Even though questions were raised over which eye was struck, the judge found it had been the one in which he subsequently lost sight.

Dealing with the issue of liability, however, he said the teacher with responsibility at the time had carried out an assessment of the wand and the girl holding it.

"The overwhelming evidence is the particular girl was timid and not likely to behave in an inappropriate way," he pointed out.

Entering judgment for the defendant, Mr Justice Stephens confirmed: "The rehearsal was appropriately supervised."

Story so far

A nine-year-old boy subsequently lost the sight in one eye after being struck by a fairy wand waved by a fellow pupil during a rehearsal for a school play. The girl was said to be acting out casting a spell at the time. A claim for damages was dismissed after the court ruled the play was properly supervised.

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