For the first time in the history of the High Court a civil case was heard ‘al fresco’ on a lawn in the grounds of Waterford Courthouse on Thursday last. Mr Justice Sean Ryan presided over the open air sitting when a witness, suffering from claustrophobia, was unable to enter the confines of the courthouse.

The bar and bench accompanied by solicitors, court registrar, stenographer and the members of the press adjourned to the lawn where a table and chairs were put in place for the brief and unusual hearing.

Motorist James Power (55), unemployed of No. 20, Treacy Park, Carick-on-Suir, is suing Hegarty Metals Processors (International) Ltd. for damages for personal injuries arising out of a road traffic accident in John St, Carrick-on-Suir, on November 23, 2007.

Barrister Stephen Lanigan O’Keeffe, SC for the plaintiff, said his client’s car was ‘rear ended’ by a lorry and driven a distance of 100 yards up the street by the force of the impact. While he suffered only minor injuries, he sustained a very serious ‘psychiatric insult’ and was now unable to function. He was very reluctant to leave his house except at night and drove only on back roads.

When his case was listed for hearing in Clonmel he would not go into the courthouse. During a psychiatric examination he became extremely agitated and had to leave.

See The Munster Express newspaper for full story.