Court moves to car park as client unwell


A HIGH Court judge moved a sitting of his court to an outside car park yesterday afternoon after the plaintiff in a civil case had to leave the courtroom because he felt unable to remain indoors.

Mr Justice Seán Ryan said: “It is unusual but it is a lovely day.”

James Power (55), unemployed, Tracey Park in Carrick-on-Suir, Co Tipperary, appeared in a civil action at the court in Waterford yesterday in relation to a car accident that resulted in him suffering from a form of claustrophobia.

Mr Power was taking the action against Hegarty Metals Processors (International) Ltd.

Stephen Lanigan O’Keeffe SC, for Mr Power, told Mr Justice Ryan that his client suffered minor injuries after a lorry struck his car from behind at John Street on November 22nd, 2007.

Mr Justice Ryan agreed to move the proceedings outside after it emerged that Mr Power could not remain in the courtroom because of his difficulties.

In evidence Mr Power said: “I felt so excited I wasn’t killed . . . I was so happy I got out.”

However, he added: “I don’t feel well now at this minute – I feel sick – I have to go.”

Mr Justice Ryan Ryan said: “It is torture for him; he isn’t able, at this moment, to proceed here.

“If the mountain cannot come to Mohammad, Mohammad must go to the mountain.”

A table and chairs were then moved to a recess of the building in the car park, while the judge, stenographer, the parties, their counsel and journalists relocated to the front of the courthouse.

Mr Lanigan O’Keeffe said the impact was such that Mr Power’s car was moved 100 yards along the road on the date in question. He said that his client “suffered minor injuries” but also sustained a “major psychiatric insult” as a result of the collision.

“He cannot function,” said Mr Lanigan O’Keeffe.

Mr Power’s condition was so bad that he had to leave a room during a psychiatric evaluation.He also could not go to a court sitting in Clonmel when the case appeared there previously, the court was told.

Mr Power was “afraid to leave the house” during the daytime and could only go outdoors at night.

Mr Justice Ryan put the case back in the list for the next sitting of the High Court in Waterford.