Man who caused €3,000 damage when stuck in lift suffered from panic attacks

Judge stuck out criminal damage charge saying to be trapped in a lift is a very frightening experience

The judge said a warning should go out to all lift companies that all lifts should be checked and serviced regularly.

The judge said a warning should go out to all lift companies that all lifts should be checked and serviced regularly.

 

A man who caused over €3,000 worth of damage when trying to free himself from a jammed lift had a charge of causing criminal damage against him struck out at Ennis District Court.

Noah James (28) of Mill House Apartments, Mill Rd, Ennis initially pleaded guilty to the charge of criminal damage to the lift at the Mill House Apartments on January 27th 2018.

However, after hearing an outline of the facts at Ennis District Court on Tuesday, including the fact that the defendant suffers from panic attacks and doesn’t like enclosed spaces, Judge Patrick Durcan invited him to change his plea to not guilty.

His solicitor Stiofán Fitzpatrick had said when his client got into the lift on the fourth floor with a friend and the doors wouldn’t open, he became extremely agitated and first tried to kick his way out of the lift and then lit a piece of paper to set off the smoke alarm in the lift.

It took around two hours, he said, between Mr James entering the lift and members of the fire service eventually freeing him and his friend with hydraulic claws .

Insp Morgan O Donoghue told the court that if Mr James didn’t damage the doors of the lift, he would have been out much sooner.

Judge Durcan said: “My wife and daughter were caught in a lift for 20 minutes and it was a very scary experience. To be trapped in a lift is a very frightening experience.

“The damage that this man did was to try to extricate himself from the lift - he got into a lift where there were serious defects.

“On occasion, you are entitled to do something that would otherwise be unlawful like taking evasive action and crossing a continuous white line in order to avoid an oncoming car.

“A warning should go out to all lift companies that all lifts should be checked and serviced regularly,” he said.

In response, Insp O’Donoghue said the State wished to withdraw the case against Mr James and Judge Durcan struck out the charge.