A patron of a nightclub in Dublin was treated in a barbaric manner by a security guard, and the judge who presided over the case was appalled by what he saw.
Anthony Neary, a former head doorman of the Arlington Hotel’s night club at O’Connell Bridge in Dublin, was criticised by Judge James O’Donohoe for his behaviour in assisting to evict Stuart Burke from the premises. The judge stated that Neary’s actions were shameful.
He had heard that Neary, a man with a stocky build and a height of more than six feet, had held Burke down on the ground in front of the hotel while his head was dangerously stretched over the walkway onto the roadway. Burke did not have the slightest idea as to why he and a companion were being kicked out and had been yelling, “Get off me, I cannot breathe.”
According to Judge O’Donohoe, “There could well have been a fatality.”
Due to the court’s revulsion at the manner in which Mr. Burke had been treated, Judge O’Donohoe announced that he would be awarding damages in the amount of €50,000 to Mr. Burke against Threadstone Security, Greenogue, Rathcoole, County Dublin. This was communicated to Mr. Burke’s counsel, barrister John Sweetman.
The court stated that Mr. Burke, who is 44 years old and works as a loss prevention officer and lives at Rathdown Square on North Circular Road in Dublin, had gone to the club with his friend Daniel Murphy after watching a soccer match in another bar. They were let into the club and offered beverages at some point before midnight on June 6, 2015.
Mr. Sweetman, who appeared in court with June O’Neill of Tiernan Solicitors, told the judge that Mr. Murphy, of Riverside Crescent, Marsh Road, Drogheda, Co. Louth, and Mr. Burke had become separated inside the club, and only 20 minutes after entering, Mr. Murphy was told that after finishing their drinks, they were required to leave. Mr. Sweetman testified on behalf of the defendants.
It had been stated that Murphy had been slouching over a table, and a security guard named Stephen Sorahan had sought the aid of a fellow employee in this regard. Murphy had been working as a security guard for another firm at the time, and he had shown his badge. Sorahan claimed that when he told Murphy that the badge did not matter, Mr. Murphy told him that he would not be moving anywhere.
The court was told that following a struggle, more than half a dozen security guards and bar staff members had forced both males out of the establishment. Murphy denied throwing himself onto the dance floor and refused to get up after he was there. Burke had gone to his aid, but both of them ended up being forcibly ejected.
Judge O’Donohoe stated that both were good people, and although he awarded Murphy €18,000 in damages, he cut it in half since Murphy had negligently contributed to what had happened. He said that Mr. Burke had foolishly gotten involved without knowing the reason why his friend was being ejected.
Judge O’Donohoe stated that prior to Mr. Burke’s intervention in the situation, Mr. Burke was an entirely innocent party. “When brought outside Mr Neary acted totally beyond all reasonable action and held Mr Burke down on the pavement in a savage and violent manner and I am surprised the Gardai didn’t prosecute him.”
According to Judge O’Donohoe, the primary cause of the entire incident was security guard Stephen Sorohan, who, without a shred of evidence as revealed on cctv, had accused Mr. Murphy of stumbling around and knocking into people. Judge O’Donohoe said this was the primary cause of the entire incident. In his testimony before the court, he added, Sorohan had been extremely cavalier.
According to him, both males had some degree of alcohol before entering the club, but if any of them had been intoxicated, they would not have been permitted to enter or served drinks.
While Mr. Burke had inadvisably gotten involved, Mr. Neary handled the situation in an inexcusable and brutal manner by holding him back. To demonstrate the courts revulsion of the way Mr. Burke was treated, the judge is giving him €50,000 in damages against the security business. However, this was reduced by 20 per cent, bringing it down to €40,000, for contributory negligence. Despite the fact that he did not know the reason why his friend was being kicked out, he should have stayed out of it.
Judge O’Donohue reminded Mr. Conor Kearney, counsel for Packlett Limited, trading as Arlington Hotel, that the awards were purely against the security firm. However, he advised that the hotel should openly apologise, particularly to Mr. Burke, for the way in which he had been treated by Neary.
TIERNAN & CO SOLICITORS IS A MEMBER OF THE DUBLIN SOLICITORS BAR ASSOCIATION AND THE LAW SOCIETY OF IRELAND