A Polish interpreter managed to translate a potential tragedy into a life-saving incident at the courthouse in Cork City yesterday.
Jakub Olearski was outside one of the district court rooms located on the balcony of the courthouse at Washington St when the incident occurred.
A distressed woman shouting, “Maybe now they’ll pay attention to me, maybe now they’ll listen,” tried to throw herself from the balcony of the historic courthouse to the main hall several metres below.
The woman, who was aged around 40, was clambering on to the waist-high balustrade when Mr Olearski intervened. He grabbed her and managed to push her to the floor and stand between her and the ornate stone barrier preventing her from making any further attempt to throw herself to her death or serious injury.
Mr Olearski shouted for the security man below to come to his assistance. He and a member of An Garda Síochána arrived at the tense scene and tried to calm the woman down.
Mr Olearski said the woman had initially pushed him out of the way, knocking his folder from his hand and was later shouting, “Who the fuck are you?” at him.
As the danger subsided, and the woman was escorted from the balcony, the Polish interpreter, a frequent visitor to the courthouse to translate proceedings for Polish witnesses, was left to reflect on what might have been: “I rang the office about the case I was waiting for and they apologised and said the case was not going ahead but they had forgotten to tell me my appointment was cancelled. If I wasn’t there it was quite likely she could have jumped. For once I was glad my office forgot to call me.”
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