Nursery fined after child brain damaged

Published Monday, 14 January 2013
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A Ballymena nursery has been fined £20,000 after a child was left disabled due to an accident with a toy on the premises.

Nursery fined after child brain damaged
Brandon was left with brain damage after the accident at the nursery. (© UTV)

On Monday the directors of The Magic Roundabout, which also operated The After School Club on the Cullybackey Road were also ordered to pay costs of £2,354 for breaching Health and Safety rules.

Five-year-old Brandon Dunseath was left with "severe physical injuries" after an exposed metal rod from a toy football table pierced his eye at the after school club on 3 June 2009.

Crown Court Judge Stephen Fowler QC, sitting in Antrim, said the fine imposed "cannot and does not attempt to put a monetary value on the suffering and disability" that the child suffered.

"The fines in this case are designed to punish the defendants and is therefore tailored not only to their breach, but to their individual circumstances," added Judge Fowler.

On Friday company directors Florence and James Allen pleaded guilty to two counts at Ballymena Crown Court of failing to notify an injury and failing to assess risk.

They were ordered to pay £5,000 within 28 days and the remainder of the fine and costs by July.

We do not wish for any other child or their family to go through what Brandon and ourselves have and still continue to go through.

Louise Dunseath

The judge said it was unclear if the cover of the handle had been removed by the child or had come off before the accident.

The accident was not immediately reported to the Environmental Health Department.

It emerged in a follow up investigation that the cover had come off the metal rod previously, but there were no records of any action that may have been taken to remedy the safety risk.

However the judge did deem the club appeared to be modern and well run with adequately trained and experienced staff.

After the court ruling, Brandon's sister read a statement on behalf of the family, stating they were grateful the proceedings had concluded.

"Brandon, who is now eight, almost nine years old, had up until the 3 June 2009, been a normal happy and healthy child," she said.

"However the events which occurred while entrusted in the care and control of the Magic Roundabout on the said date are such to cause severe physical injuries which had initially been life threatening and will remain with him for the rest of his life."

She said the family had endured three and a half years of "ongoing difficulties and anxiety" and that they had "extreme sadness" that Brandon's father passed away before the outcome of the proceedings.

The family thanked the medical staff involved with Brandon's care, as well as their friends and family for their support.

© UTV News
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3 Comments
Betsy Gray in Bangor wrote (560 days ago):
This is unbelievably careless. Fine not heavy enough. All staff and owners should have to undergo H&S training and be monitored for at least 2 years. Shocking and negligent.
Debbie m in cookstown wrote (561 days ago):
sooo saddened by this story. may God b with wee Brandon xo
Shauneen McCormick in West Belfast wrote (561 days ago):
I know Brandon and his family as my son was in the hospital at the same time, they are now a huge part of our lives, Brandon is amazing du to the amazing support and dedication from his mum,dad and sister.....glad justice has been done
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