Man injured by thrown bottle awarded €3.8m

Tue, Nov 13, 2012, 00:00

A man who suffered severe brain damage when a bottle thrown by his then girlfriend hit him on the head, has been awarded about €3.8 million under a criminal injuries compensation scheme, the High Court heard yesterday when asked to approve that award.

Jason Clarke (43), now confined to a wheelchair, suffered the assault on New Year’s Eve 2000 outside the Blue Light pub in Glencullen, Dublin.

Mr Clarke, who was studying to be a physiotherapist, suffered a burst blood vessel in his brain, causing him to have two or three strokes. He lost consciousness and did not regain it for three months.

He was with a group of friends in the pub when a row broke out and his then girlfriend struck him. The row continued outside the bar and she threw a bottle at him, striking the back of his head, the court heard. She was arrested a month after the incident, pleaded guilty to assault and received a suspended jail sentence.

In 2002, Mr Clarke brought a claim to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Tribunal which made an award of about €3.84 million of which some €1 million in interim payments have been made to date.

Yesterday, his father Frank Clarke, an artist and TV painting instructor, asked president of the High Court Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns to approve the €3.84 million award as final.

In an affidavit, Frank Clarke said he appreciated the difficulties and complexities of the case but, given the severe financial straits his family faced in attempting to look after Jason, he wanted the court to approve the award.

Asked if he was happy with the amount, Mr Clarke, Fonthill Park, Rathfarnham, said it was “a matter of necessity”. An opinion on the award presented to the court by John Shortt SC, for Jason, calculated €8.4 million would be required. That sum was sought but, Mr Shortt said, while his side’s experts estimated Jason’s care needs would be €4.8 million, the tribunal only awarded €1.89 million under this heading.