A. M. G. -v- M. H. & Ors, [2006] IEHC 399 (2006)

Docket Number:2001 10310 p
Party Name:A. M. G., M. H. & Ors
Judge:O''Neill J.
 
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THE HIGH COURT [2001 No. 10310 P]BETWEENA.M.GPLAINTIFFAND

M. H., D.C.,

C.M. O'C., BRIAN O'REILLY (AND HIS SUCCESSORS PROVINCIALS OF THE DIVINE WORD MISSIONARIES), THE FELLOWS AND THE BOARD OF MANAGEMENT OF

ALL HALLOWS COLLEGEDEFENDANTSJUDGMENT of O'Neill J. delivered the 15th day of December, 2006.

The fourth named defendant in his notice of motion of the 21st November, 2005, seeks the following reliefs against the plaintiff:

  1. An order pursuant to the inherent jurisdiction of the court, dismissing the plaintiffs claim as against the fourth named defendant, on the grounds that it is misconceived in law, frivolous, vexatious, and that same has no reasonable prospects of succeeding.

  2. Further, and in the alternative an Order, dismissing the plaintiffs claim against the fourth named defendant on the grounds of inordinate and inexcusable delay.

In his statement of claim in these proceedings the plaintiff alleges that between 1981 and 1988 he was repeatedly sexually abused by the first named defendant. The plaintiff alleges inter alia negligence against the first named defendant who was from 1974 until 1981 a student for the priesthood with the Divine Word Missionaries. According to the undisputed evidence in this application the first named defendant did not continue his studies with the Divine Word Missionaries in September of 1981 by taking vows and in all probability ceased his involvement with the Divine Word Missionaries in June of 1981 at the end of that academic year.

The basis of the allegation of negligence against the fourth named defendant is set out at particulars (c), (d) and (e) of the particulars of negligence in the Statement of Claim and these are to the effect that the fourth named defendant or his predecessors failed to make any sufficiently detailed or valid assessment or evaluation of the first named defendant and caused him or permitted him to continue a path to ordination and subsequent ministry when they knew he was grossly unsuitable having regard to his homosexually abusive nature, and failed to take any precautions in regard to the monitoring, selection, ultimate ordination and employment of the first defendant.

The affidavit of K.M.G. the plaintiffs father establishes that the first named defendant was a friend of the plaintiffs family having been befriended by the plaintiffs father several years before the plaintiff was born and that he maintained a close relationship with the plaintiffs family over many years including staying in their home and going on holidays with the family.

The evidence also establishes to my satisfaction, that the plaintiff or his family had no connection whatsoever with the Divine Word Missionaries and that the Divine Word Missionaries played no part whatsoever in introducing the first named defendant to the plaintiff's family or in bringing about the first named defendants access to the plaintiff.

The most that can be said, as was averred to, in the affidavit of K.M.G. the plaintiff's father, namely, that because the first named defendant was a clerical student and because of the high level of respect and trust for clergy, that the plaintiff's parents were more disposed to be accommodating of the first named defendant and entirely trusting of him in his contact with their children.

In the course of his submissions Mr. Doyle S.C. for the plaintiff conceded that the plaintiff was not making the case that the fourth named defendant was vicariously liable for the actions of the first named defendant; that the plaintiff's case was simply that the fourth named defendants were negligent as set out above; that the plaintiff was a person who must have been or ought to have been in the contemplation of the Divine Word...

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