Australian tourist, 70, who slipped on National Museum staircase awarded €67k

Ms Justice Bronagh O’Hanlon said the museum Portland stone steps were shiny and slippy and 70-year old Warren Baldwin who ruptured a leg tendon suffered significant trauma, discomfort, inconvenience, expense and upset.

Australian tourist, 70, who slipped on National Museum staircase awarded €67k

An Australian tourist who slipped and rolled down a stone stairs at the National Museum of Ireland injuring his leg has been awarded almost €67,000 by a High Court judge.

Ms Justice Bronagh O’Hanlon said the museum Portland stone steps were shiny and slippy and 70-year old Warren Baldwin who ruptured a leg tendon suffered significant trauma, discomfort, inconvenience, expense and upset.

The accident on the second day of Mr Baldwin's trip to Ireland with his wife the judge ruled was caused by negligence in failing to provide a railing for a person to hold on to the entire way down the National Museum seven-step staircase.

The pensioner fell on the third last step from the bottom.

The judge accepted the contention that because the railing stopped before the end of the staircase there was a tendency for people to move towards the centre portion.

The National Museum steps date back to 1890 when the Kildare Street building was constructed. The wrought iron bannister topped by a wooden rail terminates at the third last step from the bottom where it joins a stone balustrade.

Ms Justice O'Hanlon concluded had there been an adequate and safe handrail system on the steps in question, Mr Baldwin would not have suffered the injury he did.

The National Museum, Ms Justice O'Hanlon said failed in its duty to take reasonable care to ensure the safety of Mr Baldwin because there was no proper and adequate handrail system on the stairway in question.

CCTV footage of the stairway and fall the judge said should have been preserved and the employee who viewed that footage should also have been made available.

National Museum of Ireland
National Museum of Ireland

The National Museum she said should have preserved and retained the one piece of evidence which would have truly clarified the situation and she said the court draws an inference from the fact they chose not to either have the witness who viewed the CCTV footage give evidence or produce the CCTV themselves.

Warren Baldwin (70) who lives in Revesby, just outside Sydney, New South Wales had sued the National Museum of Ireland, Kildare Street, Dublin as a result of the fall on June 5, 2016.

He alleged there was a failure to provide adequate hand railing and that the steps had been allegedly permitted to become unsafe and were polished smooth from wear and allegedly did not have adequate anti-slip nosing.

The claims were denied and the Museum contended the stairs were free from defect and there was one handrail. It also contended there was contributory negligence on the part of Mr Baldwin, who it was claimed was rushing to descend and was not paying attention.

The Museum also said over 470,000 people visited the National Museum in 2016, the year of the accident and Mr Baldwin was the only person who fell on the marble stairs.

Finding there was no contributory negligence on Mr Baldwin's part, Ms Justice O'Hanlon said she found the tourist to be a very credible witness who came to court in good faith and travelled from Australia to bring his case to trial.

He gave evidence the judge said in a very candid normal way without embellishing matters in any shape or form.

The case she said was a difficult one because Mr Baldwin's recollection of the cause and mechanics of his fall while inconsistent with the accident report form he filled in was not inconsistent with the description of his fall when admitted to hospital.

The final award as €66,989.

More in this section

Puzzles logo
IE-logo

Puzzles hub

Visit our brain gym where you will find simple and cryptic crosswords, sudoku puzzles and much more. Updated at midnight every day.

Puzzles logo
IE-logo

Puzzles hub

Visit our brain gym where you will find simple and cryptic crosswords, sudoku puzzles and much more. Updated at midnight every day.

War of Independence Podcast

A special four-part series hosted by Mick Clifford

Available on
www.irishexaminer.com/podcasts

Commemorating 100 years since the War of Independence