Northern Ireland

Ballymena nursery fined over child's eye injury

A Ballymena nursery has been fined £20,000 over an accident in which a five-year-old's eye was pierced by the handle of a toy football table.

Brandon Dunseath was seriously injured at the Magic Roundabout nursery in June, 2009.

The court had heard the table toppled over on top of Brandon and one of the exposed rods went into his left eye.

Company directors Florence and James Allen pleaded guilty to failing to promptly report the accident.

They also admitted failing to make a suitable risk assessment.

The Crown Court, sitting in Antrim, ordered them to pay £5,000 of the fine within 28 days and the remainder by July. They must also pay costs of £2,354.

Although he suffered a life-threatening injury, Brandon recovered, although he still needs a significant amount of medical support "to supplement the devoted care given to him by his mother".

After the hearing, Brandon's sister Louise read a statement on his and the family's behalf, in which they thanked medical staff for their treatments.

She said while they were grateful for the progress he had made, "future life, not only for Brandon, but also for us, his family, has been devastated".

Judge Stephen Fowler said the court wanted to make it clear that the fine "cannot, and does not attempt to put a monetary value on the suffering and disability" the child had endured.

"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," he said.