Trapeze artist (53) sues Fossett’s circus over back injury

Amanda Bratby says she ‘could have been a ring master’ before her work was restricted

Amanda Bratby, from Navan, Co Meath, leaving the Four Courts. Photograph: Collins Courts.

Amanda Bratby, from Navan, Co Meath, leaving the Four Courts. Photograph: Collins Courts.


An action by a circus performer who was injured when she was struck on the back by a piece of equipment as she waited for a big top grand finale has been struck out at the High Court on undisclosed terms.

Trapeze artist Amanda Bratby claimed, while she was bent down putting on her shoes for the finale, she was struck forcefully on the back by a piece of steel tubing, a prop normally used to secure the tight wire.

She had completed her trapeze act and was waiting with other performers in an area behind the circus stage when the accident happened.

Ms Bratby (53), Coolfore Road, Navan, Co Meath, sued Fossett Brothers Circus Ltd, The Grange, Lucan, Co Dublin, as a result of the accident on October 11th 2012. She alleged failure to ensure a heavy prop was properly secured and to provide a safe place of work.

Ms Justice Bronagh O’Hanlon was told liability was conceded and the case was before the court for assessment of damages only.


Ms Bratby said she was greatly restricted in her work activities due to stiffness and pain, was unable to achieve an earning capacity equal to her pre-accident level and unable to do her trapeze act as confidently as previously.

She spent three days in bed after the accident because of pain, still suffers back pain and now works at a petting farm, she said.

She had expected to work as a trapeze artist and with her ponies in the ring. “I could have been a circus ring master.”

She agreed she did nine shows in Holland months after the accident. She said she could only do very basic tricks on the trapeze, could not swing and had worked to a curtailed schedule in 2013.

When Finbarr Fox SC, for Fossett’s, said she earned two and a half times more after the accident than before and asked how could she stand over her claim she earned less, she replied: “I can’t, can I?”

Following cross examination, the judge gave a five minutes recess and noted another day at hearing would incur further legal costs. She did not think Ms Bratby understood the argument about her earnings, she said.

After talks between the parties, the judge was told by John McDonagh SC, for Ms Bratby, the case could be struck out.