Electric car ‘took off’ and hit boy after being parked, court hears

Seán Leahy, who was five at time of incident, suffered broken leg after Renault vehicle struck him

A child was injured when a Renault electric car took off of its own accord after being parked up by its driver, and struck the five-year-old boy, the Circuit Civil Court has heard.

Fiona Crawford BL told Judge Terence O'Sullivan that Seán Leahy's mother, Jean Leahy, attempted to pull her son and other children clear of the path of the car. However, it struck Seán and broke his right leg.

Ms Crawford, for the boy, said the car continued moving until it crashed into another parked vehicle on the opposite side of the car park attached to Arabian Nights Gym, Baldoyle Industrial Estate, Dublin 13.

Judge O'Sullivan heard that the driver of the electric car, Fiona Bonke, had just exited the vehicle through the passenger door when the vehicle took off across the car park. Ms Bonke immediately rushed to help Seán and Ms Leahy, the court heard.


Ms Crawford said that Seán, of St Sampson’s Square, Balgriffin, Co Dublin, had been to the Arabian Nights Gym with his mother and sister on October 13th, 2016. They were walking across the car park when the incident occurred.


Seán, who is now seven, sued Ms Bonke through his father, John. The boy was taken to Temple Street Children’s Hospital on a spinal board and an x-ray confirmed he suffered an un-displaced fracture. His injured leg was put in a plaster to above his knee.

Judge O’Sullivan said that having read the medical reports associated with Seán’s treatment and recovery it was clear he had also suffered significant post-traumatic stress disorder.

He said an Injuries Board assessment of €45,000 was not appropriate in the circumstances and he felt that proceedings on the boy's behalf should be taken in the unlimited jurisdiction of the High Court.

“I would have no difficulty in awarding the full €60,000 jurisdiction of the Circuit Court in this case and I will refuse to approve the Injuries Board assessment. Proceedings should now be taken in the High Court,” Judge O’Sullivan said.

Judge O’Sullivan said Seán, because of his leg cast, was confined for some time to a wheelchair and missed playing sports and a number of his friends’ birthday parties. He was in the cast for more than two months up until Christmas of 2016.

Ms Crawford said she had considered the assessment, even for the un-displaced fracture alone, to be very much on the low side and added that an opportunity would be given to Ms Bonke’s insurance company to re-engage in the matter.

Judge O’Sullivan awarded Seán’s legal team the costs of the application.