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Infuriating legal case: Aer Lingus vs. Hot Chocolate Drinker

It is absolutely infuriating when judges make stupid judgements, but it doesn’t get much better when cases are settled.

In this case, a 12 year old boy (sitting next to his dad!) got a cup of hot chocolate and some additional milk from a flight attendant on an Aer Lingus flight from Nice to Dublin. A lid was firmly on the cup!! The boy takes the cup and opens it to put the milk inside. Then he replaces the lid and when he tries to drink, the hot chocolate pours over his leg.

He gets some burns, removes his clothes in the toilet and gets first aid. After arrival in Dublin the boy is brought to hospital and makes a good recovery.

All this is described in the Breaking News article here.

But let me unpack that! A dad buys a hot chocolate for his son (because the son is 12 years of age and because it might not be too far fetched to think that the dad did pay for it, I think we can assume that the dad had some involvement). The son then takes the lid off and does not properly put it back on again. The dad doesn’t check and clearly fails in his duty of care. So now the son screwed up and the dad screwed up.

The son pours the hot drink over his leg and gets burns. Very regrettable and not a good situation for the son, but WHERE in this did Aer Lingus have any responsibility?

The dad (because the son is only 12) sues Aer Lingus for damages and Aer Lingus pays an outrageous EUR 70,000 to the son for having done absolutely nothing wrong.

You might think that doesn’t affect you, but guess who will pay the 70,000. Not the Aer Lingus shareholders from their profits! No! Ultimately you and I will pay for it in higher prices.

So you and I pay this 12 year old boy 70,000 because he messed up when he put the lid back on and because the dad didn’t bother to check. Infuriating!!

And why did Aer Lingus pay? Probably because they expected that the judge for some nebulous reasons would decide against them and then the whole mess could cost even more. The possibility that a judge could find Aer Lingus to be guilty – which probably is based on other court cases – is infuriating in itself, by the way.

Judges (in this case Judge Kevin Cross) should have the ability to throw cases like that out immediately! And people who sue anybody in such a scandalous way should be the ones that pay.

Deranged opinions of legal profession in Ireland! – Rape case in Cork

I have complained many times over the last few years about nonsensical judgements by Irish judges that let criminals off with super low or with no penalties in cases where we, the public feel that serious misjustice has been done.

So many judges in Ireland clearly can not be trusted with the law, which is a shocking realisation in itself. But we would hope that other part of the justice system are at least more trustworthy and show a better understanding of right and wrong.

A trial at Cork Circuit Criminal Court, however, showed that the next level down, i.e. the people that are not (yet) judges are as deranged in their opinions as many judges.

At that trial in Cork a 27 year old man was accused of raping a 17 year old girl in a laneway.

In her closing words, the senior counsel for the defence, Elizabeth O’Connell SC said:
“Does the evidence out-rule the possibility that she was attracted to the defendant and was open to meeting someone and being with someone? You have to look at the way she was dressed. She was wearing a thong with a lace front.” :-O

The job of a defence lawyer is to achieve an acquittal of the accused and they do whatever it takes, even defending someone who is clearly guilty. We don’t know if the accused in this case was guilty or not. He claims that she consented, she says she didn’t. BUT he was acquitted in court by a jury of eight men and four women and it could well be that the outrageousness of “wearing a thong with lace front” contributed to that acquittal.

First of all, how can the clothing that a woman is wearing justify a rape? That is totally ridiculous! Some men might not have much of a brain, others are happy to switch it off, but NO man should EVER be allowed to use the defence that he couldn’t stop himself after he saw a woman dressed in a certain way.

Secondly, how does it matter what clothing is worn UNDERNEATH the normal (outer) clothing? Unless I run around showing everyone my under wear, it is MY decision what I wear underneath and NOBODY has the right to assume that I am inviting any sort of behaviour based on my choice of under garment!

But it is the third thing that shocks me most! This stupid argument about the “thong with a lace front” justifying what might have been rape was not raised by an old, crusty, misogynistic, out-of-touch-with-life, male solicitor/barrister. No, it was used by a middle aged FEMALE barrister and I can only assume that she never wore a “thong with a lace front” in her life! (Her picture is in this article, but has been removed by the Law Library it seems where it was originally found.) If women think that another woman’s clothing choice justifies any sort of behaviour by a man, then what chance do young women that were attacked have in this country?

Even more oddly, though, the FEMALE judge in the court did not stop that misguided defence strategy, but seemingly accepted the victim blaming based on her choice of clothing.

The Irish legal system is in a bad state if the professionals in it have no better understanding of right and wrong!!

The Irish Examiner brought this court case to our attention.

Useless laws in Ireland? Why only here?

In some parts of Dublin, there is a problem with motorised youths on footpaths and in parks. They use quadbikes and small motorbikes (nicknamed “scramblers”) and in 2016 a total of 71 people got injured and in 2017, 62 people suffered injuries, Now I have to be honest and admit that I don’t really care about injuries to people that drive them. It is only injuries to people that are hit by them that count.

You would think that if an illegal vehicle is used (the quadbikes and motorbikes have no insurance and pay no tax), the gardai would make sure that the bikes will be impounded and the drivers will be charged and punished. You would think that! But that is not what is happening!

Instead it emerged this week that Gardai are told NOT to pursue quad bikes and it also emerged that Irish laws are not so clear on what a street is.

I can’t get my head around this: There are around 190 countries in this world and there are many countries (mainly in Europe) where the legal system is quite similar to the system in Ireland. If ANY one of these countries has effective laws and effective law enforcement in ANY area that Ireland can’t get under control, why do our lawmakers not just copy the laws that others have put in place?

We constantly hear of loop holes for drunken drivers. Now there is a problem with quadbikes and motorbikes and there are many other areas as well where the Irish laws are ineffective. Is it that our law makers are just not smart enough or why can’t they get it sorted?

Here is an example of a story that shows the ineffectiveness of laws and law enforcement.

 

Machine Pistols everywhere – But different consequences!

There were two machine pistol-related articles in TheJournal.ie last week and there are two completely different consequences coming from the discovery of these guns.

The first article on Wednesday explained that a “member of the public” FOUND a fully-loaded submachine gun belonging to no other than the Garda Siochana. The gun was in a bag in the boot of an armed Garda unit car and it fell out of the car for currently still unknown reasons. The gun was luckily brought to Store Street Garda station and was handed in.

As a consequence of the incident, “A senior Garda officer has been appointed to examine all the circumstances relating to an incident involving an armed unit in Dublin city centre today.”

The second article on Friday described that also on Wednesday a car was stopped in Drogheda and the driver of the car had a large amount of prescription tablets. She was arrested and during a follow-on search a machine pistol and a ammunition were found in a parked car in Drogheda.

The consequence in this case is that the woman will be in court tomorrow and will be charged in connection with the discovery of the machine pistol.

The two stories have nothing to do with each other. In one case it was seemingly a criminal and/or dissident republican that had the gun and ammunition in the car to be used for illegal activities. In the other case it was the law enforcement authorities that had the pistol, but lost it.

Interestingly, though, both sides have very similar weapons and I would always prefer that the law enforcers have better and a lot more weapons than the criminals. The other interesting aspect is that a large part of the Gardai (is it still the majority?) are not armed at all, while the criminals have machine pistols in their cars. Is that a good situation? Me thinks: NO!

And the final aspect: Imagine that Garda machine pistol had been picked up by the “wrong” person. I’d say the Gardai didn’t even realise that it fell out of their car until MUCH later … with no idea where exactly it fell out. :-O Clearly machine pistols are popular in Ireland and finding one on the streets of Dublin is like winning the lottery for the right criminal.

About the consequences: Clearly the Gardai were authorised to have the gun, but the loss of it will hopefully have some consequences for the careless Gardai. And the woman in Drogheda? I wouldn’t be surprised if she will be released again “and a file will be prepared for the Director of Public Prosecution”. If that happens you really have to wonder what a stupid legal system we have in Ireland.

Are Irish judges idiots??

It seems that there is no end to astonishing decisions by judges in Ireland. This could be a case where drunk driving gets a little slap on the wrist or where the theft of social welfare money will be “rewarded” with the thief getting away with no punishment at all.

Last week another amazing story made it from the courts into the newspapers. The court decision that is absolutely unbelievable is already from 2013/2016 and the reason why it is appearing now again is because thankfully the losing party has appealed the decision to the High Court and I can only hope that the 2016 decision will be overturned.

According to an article in the Irish Independent, this is what happened:

A guy entered a pub in Rathmines one evening in April 2013. He ordered a pint and put EUR 10 on the counter. The barman picks up the EUR 10 note and says that this note is fake and possibly 10 other people in the pub heard that. The customer claimed that he got the note from the post office and therefore the note was not fake. Then the customer claims that he went to the Rathmines Garda Station, the note was tested and he was told that it is perfect. He then returned to the bar and told the barman what the garda said. The next day the customer went to his solicitor and sued the pub for defamation.

Sounds like a simple story, but I am still waiting for where the customer was defamed. The Circuit Court was totally on the customer’s side and awarded EUR 5,000 to the customer.

This is a super odd case, so keep reading, it gets a lot more interesting.

But let’s look at the definition of defamation first. A defamatory statement is one which tends to injure a person’s reputation in the eyes of reasonable members of society. So if the pub had been empty, the customer would not have been awarded a cent. But because there were some people in the pub that MIGHT have heard that the barman stated that this was fake money, it could be defamation. But it is ONLY defamation if the statement “injures a person’s reputation”. With the huge amounts of fake money going around, I think a lot more people than we know have handled fake notes. And if we assume that you might get a fake note as change and because most of us do not check every note we get, I think it is not certain that a person’s reputation is automatically damaged if somebody thinks that the money you have is fake.

We can all FEEL to be defamed, but that doesn’t mean our reputation actually did suffer!

But it continues!! Oddly, it turns out, that the customer did NOT go to the Garda Station in Rathmines and NO Garda confirmed that the money was “perfect”. The two gardai on duty that night said that nobody came with a potentially fake note and that they also don’t have a machine to check money. Wow! So did the the customer tell a big fat lie?

Could that also mean that he did not get this note from the post office? Not that getting a note from a post office is a guarantee that it is not fake, but possibly the money was NOT from a source that is perceived to be reputable. Allegedly he told the barman that he got it from a “bookies or a shop” but in court the customer claimed that he said he got it from the Post Office.

Looks to me that the customer’s statements might not be the most reliable? How can the Circuit Court in a situation like force the pub to give him EUR 5,000?

Was that Circuit Court judge asleep? Odd!!

 
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