In dismissing a case brought in the Circuit Court in Tralee by a Nigerian national last November, Judge Harvey Kenny said that "there were no grounds at all" for bringing the case. He awarded costs to the Aqua Dome and suggested that the gardaí should investigate the case.
On March 14, 2000, Sulaimon Awesu, a Nigerian national, took out a monthly membership of the Aqua Dome in Tralee. That same day he said that he cut his toe in the pool. The toe was dressed and he demanded not only his membership money back but also monetary compensation for his suffering. His membership money was returned to him and a taxi was provided to take him to the hospital, but he took the taxi to his residence instead. Later he called an ambulance to take him to casualty.
Next day he returned to the Aqua Dome and again demanded money for his suffering. The staff did not have the authority to pay out money in such circumstances, but the man was told that the Aqua Dome would get him whatever medical treatment he needed. Awesu then went to the gardaí, who told him that, as there was no criminal offence, he would have to speak to a solicitor.
After the case was thrown out of the Circuit Court, Awesu appealed to the High Court. Mr Justice Adrian Hardiman listened to the case made by the plaintiff's legal team last week and then unceremoniously dismissed the appeal on the grounds that there was no evidence of any negligence on the part of the Aqua Dome. He awarded court costs to the Aqua Dome and also commented that the case had "unfortunately occupied the time of two courts wholly without justification".
Mr Justice Hardiman was further critical of the calling of the ambulance. "By no stretch of the imagination could the injury described require an ambulance," the judge told the court.
"We are talking about an injury of the most inconsiderable kind."
At present the Aqua Dome estimates that this case will have cost it 10,000 euro in legal fees, not to mention the amount of time wasted by staff in the whole matter. Of course, it was awarded costs but the Manager, Kieran Ruttledge, estimates that the "chances of recovering any money from Mr Awesu are slim as we believe he is not in gainful employment".