This first case involved a collision between two pupils during the course of GAA training after normal school hours. The pleadings advised that the injured party was rugby tackled by a boy before the session commenced. This version changed in the course of the hearing to an accidental collision. Following the collision the injured party alleged she was forced to participate in the session despite being injured. The teacher actually witnessed the accident and attended to the injured party after the accident and tested her finger movement and her wrist and confirmed there was no bruising or redness. It was alleged that there was a lack of supervision and that the teacher should not have allowed the injured party to continue to participate in the training session. The case went to a full hearing in the Circuit Court. Evidence was given that there were 20 pupils participating in the session supervised by the teacher and a parent (who was in a car adjacent to the pitch, looking on). The Circuit Court Judge found against the school on the basis that supervision was inadequate but had no criticism to levy against the teacher or parents who were giving their time freely. The judge went on to state that the accident arose from play acting and that there was no malice in it. Finally, the Judge commented that the injured party was forced to continue with training and that although there was no medical evidence to support this, it may have exacerbated the pupil’s injury. The Judge found against the school and made an award along with an order for costs.
The case was appealed to the High Court on all grounds. Supervision at a ratio of two supervisors to twenty pupils was well within acceptable limits. No medical evidence was presented to prove any exacerbation to the injury. The case was heard in full before the High Court where the Judge dismissed the injured party’s claim and commented; “The case concerns the extent of the duty of care after hours and supervision and going out playing sport after school. The teacher was involved in an activity of public utility which was very much appreciated locally and it was something he need not have done. There was a dispute as to how the accident occurred. Initially the injured party said she was rugby tackled but later drew back on that. There was a question as to whether the teacher was there at all. His evidence is convincing and truthful. He was there at the time it occurred and observed what happened”. The Judge was equally satisfied that the teacher had tested the injured party’s fingers and checked her wrist and there was no bruising. In the end he decided it was not a serious incident and the Judge accepted that there was a system in place and the parent witness was there if other parents needed to be contacted. The Judge stated he was satisfied there was in fact supervision and it was adequate and that he saw no negligence on the part of the school. The injured party’s claim was dismissed.