Rosemary Skrine, secretary of the Island Hunt in Wexford, was struck by a high-velocity flying dog and seriously injured four years ago.
The accident happened when 81-year-old Ms Skrine was trying to stop the traffic because one of the Hunt’s foxhounds was on the wrong side of the road. Abbas Ahmed didn’t notice the old lady standing in the middle of the road waving at him, and struck the dog with his car. The dog bounced off the vehicle and flattened poor Ms Skrine, causing head, knee and hip injuries. The dog unfortunately didn’t survive, though history doesn’t record whether the collision with the car or the old lady killed it.
Ms Skrine sued Mr Ahmed and the Island Hunt for her injuries.
The President of the High Court, Mr Justice Nicky Kearns, decided yesterday that Mr Ahmed should have seen Ms Skrine in the middle of the road, whereas the Hunt had no case to answer, and he therefore awarded €87,000 against Mr Ahmed.
The Island Hunt got away without paying anything and this is where his learned judgefulness has lost me.
To be negligent, I thought you have to reasonably foresee that something could go wrong. If I had my dog out on the road without a lead and someone was injured in a traffic accident as a result, I’d be negligent because any fool can see you don’t let your dog run free on the road. Any cretin can see that, unless the cretin happens to be the Island Hunt. It seems that if you happen to have dozens of dogs running around the road, instead of just one, there’s no obligation to figure out that it might be a bit dangerous.
Twenty dogs running around in the traffic could cause an accident? Who knew?
And that’s why the Island Hunt didn’t have to pay compensation. They weren’t negligent.
Mr Ahmed, however, was negligent, because obviously he should have known that he might hit a wandering dog, that the dog would take off in a flat trajectory and hit an old lady, causing her serious injury.
I mean, any idiot could see that’s the most likely thing to happen, and that’s why Mr Ahmed had to pay the compensation.