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June 1, 2017

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Nightclub goer blinded in one eye by confetti cannon, effects company fined

A special effects company whose confetti cannon hit a woman in the face – leaving her permanently blinded in one eye – has been fined £16,000.

James McMahon and Tory Harper, who ran the Knowsley-based UK Ltd were described by a judge as “naive and cavalier” over the accident at Liverpool super-club Cream in 2013.

Liverpool Crown Court was told how Kitty Dollah was seriously hurt when the “Stadium Shot” cannon was discharged at around 1am on 27 December 2013. The cannon had been installed in the courtyard and dance areas of the Wolstenholme Square nightclub and had been fired five times before the accident occurred.

The shot hit Ms Dollah in the face, knocking her off her feet, and leaving her covered with blood.

Judge Elizabeth Nicholls said: “The shot knocked a number of people over and caused serious injuries to Kitty Dollah who sustained significant facial injuries and now has lost the use of one of her eyes. The Stadium Shot was then switched off.

“Kitty Dollah describes being taken to hospital and there was revealed the significance of injuries sustained to her face. Her eye socket was smashed up. She couldn’t eat properly and had to eat food supplements. It was a horrendous state she found herself in.

“Tragically, she was readmitted to surgery and discovered she’d lost sight in her right eye.

“She was completely shocked – and described her face as ‘completely smashed up’ and that “she looked a mess”.

“Not only was there pain and discomfort, but there was the psychological impact which it must have had on Kitty Dollah. She still has psychological problems as a consequence of the injuries sustained on what should have been a pleasant night.”


“Her statement is a reminder of the importance of creating a safe environment and the responsibilities companies bear to their employees, workers and members of the public.”

The court heard how the Stadium Shot, which should be discharged at least 25m away from a person, was inappropriate for use in an indoor nightclub. A less powerful cannon, called a Power Shot, would potentially have been more suitable, the court was told. Ltd was ordered to pay a fine of £16,000 after admitting a single breach of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act. They were also ordered to cover the legal costs of the prosecution, amounting to a further £16,000, which was led by Liverpool Council’s environmental health team.

Peter Horgan, defending, said: “They [company directors James McMahon and Tory Harper] recognise they have let themselves down, and more importantly Miss Dollah.

“In the ensuing four years, no further breaches have been occasioned.”

Mr Horgan added there were no other health and safety failures, and said: “I offer apologies to Ms Dollah on the company’s behalf.

“This company has taken on board what has occurred and has striven to ensure any such repetition of any incident would not happen again.”

Mr McMahon did attend court, while a solicitor for Ms Dollah attended the hearing.

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