A schoolgirl spectator hit on the head by an ice hockey puck at a Belfast Giants match is seeking a landmark award of up to £30,000 damages, it emerged yesterday.
Lawyers for the teenager told the High Court inadequate barriers were erected to stop her from being injured.
The girl is claiming negligence in a lawsuit brought against the owners of both the Odyssey Arena and the Belfast Giants. She is bidding to become the first ever person in the UK to successfully sue after being struck by a puck going into the crowd at a game.
The girl was aged 12 when she was hit during a warm-up session before a match at the arena in September 2008.
She sustained a wound above her left eye which required four stitches and left her permanently scarred, the court heard.
In their case against the Odyssey Trust Company Ltd and the Belfast Giants 2008 Ltd, lawyers for the girl claimed there was a failure to carry out a proper risk assessment. It was also alleged that allowing multiple pucks to be used in a warm-up session without a referee’s supervision was negligent.
Counsel for the defendants argued that everything possible was done to ensure spectator safety. Mr Justice Gillen was told that the arena complied with international ice hockey requirements. Public warnings are also issued at games, the court heard.
Should liability be established the plaintiff is seeking £30,000 in damages.
After hearing all evidence in the case, Mr Justice Gillen reserved judgment.