Student's action over injuries sustained during lunchtime altercation dismissed

Student's Action Over Injuries Sustained During Lunchtime Altercation Dismissed
The student, who is now 21, took the action against his former school, Templeogue College. Photo: Unsplash
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High Court reporters

A student’s personal injuries action against his former secondary school over facial injuries he sustained in a lunchtime altercation has been dismissed by the High Court.

Ricardo Silva Junior was 13 and in second year at Templeogue College when the altercations between him and a classmate occurred on November 28th, 2016.


The other boy, who was not a party to the proceedings, was suspended over the events, the court heard.

After hearing the plaintiff’s case on Thursday morning, Ms Justice Carmel Stewart said the court has every sympathy for Mr Silva, but she did not feel a case was made out that the school was responsible for the events.

She pointed to the fact that the other student was suspended, and the incident which caused the injuries happened on a public footpath.

Mr Silva, now 21 and in his first year of a science degree at University College Dublin, told the court he required immediate dental work and stitches to his split gum after the other 14-year-old punched him three or four times while on a public road near to their school. He was also kicked in the groin, he said.


“I remember just feeling my tooth hanging from my lip,” he said, adding that he ran into the school and reported the incident to a teacher.

The pair had been involved in an earlier incident during their shorter morning break, when, Mr Silva said, he sat on a banana skin and a yoghurt that he was told had been put there by the other boy. There was no teacher in the classroom, as they were waiting for their English teacher to arrive after the break.

Mr Silva said he put the lunch items on the other boy’s desk, resulting in that student punching him in the face. Mr Silva said their teacher then entered and he did not inform any school employee about the punch.


Later, during their longer lunch break, the applicant said he encountered the boy again at a nearby filling station. He said other students “egged” him on to “start something” with the other boy, but he claimed he “wasn’t bothered”.


Mr Silva did, however, take the student’s hat from his head, he told the court. As they were returning to school, but still on the public footpath, the other student punched and kicked him, he said.

Under cross-examination from the school’s lawyers, Finbarr Fox SC, with Adrianne Fields BL, Mr Silva said he was not sure what he expected would happen after he took the boy’s hat.

It was a “little joke” and a non-physical way to get back at the boy for what had happened earlier, he responded.

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Mr Silva agreed with Mr Fox that he received help from the school when he returned and reported the assault. He agreed the teachers had no knowledge of the earlier incident until that point.


In his action, Mr Silva alleged the school had failed to exercise the required care and supervision. His counsel said there should have been a “proper system of supervision” in place for the large number of students who go off on their lunch break to the nearby shop. The school denied the claims.

Dismissing the case before the school went on to present its defence, Ms Justice Stewart said: “It seems to me that clearly an unfortunate incident occurred, and injuries were sustained by Mr Silva, but it was handled appropriately when they [the students] returned to school.”

She made no order as to the parties’ legal costs.

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