The ex-girlfriend of a bank official forced to hand over €7.6m during the course of a kidnapping has brought a High Court claim seeking damages for alleged negligence against her former partner's employers.
Stephanie Smith was in a relationship with Bank of Ireland employee Shane Travers when the incident occurred on 26 February 2006.
Mr Travers was forced to hand over money taken from BOI's premises at College Green in Dublin while armed masked robbers held Ms Smith and two of her family members hostage.
The 24-year-old claims she suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and depression as a result of her ordeal.
In her action against the Governor and Company of the Bank of Ireland, Ms Smith, a hairdresser from Kill, Co Kildare, says the bank failed to have any regard for the health and safety of its employee's co-habitants.
It is also claimed Bank of Ireland exposed her to a foreseeable security-related injury and to danger and injury, which it ought to have known.
Bank of Ireland failed in its duty of care to her, it is further alleged. Bank of Ireland denies all the claims against it.
In its defence it denies it owes Ms Smith any duty of care.
The matter came before High Court President Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns, who directed that an issue in the case be tried as a preliminary issue.
The issue, which Bank of Ireland had asked be tried as a preliminary issue, is whether on the facts pleaded it owed a duty of care to Ms Smith at common law or a statutory duty in the terms pleaded in her personal injuries summons.
In his ruling the judge said while what had happened to Ms Smith was "horrific" he agreed with lawyers for the bank that what was "a novel" claim should be tried on a preliminary issue.
In her statement of claim Ms Smith says that on the date of the robbery she and her mother were approached by an armed gang of masked men outside Ms Smith's home.
In an ensuing struggle both women were assaulted and injured by the robbers.
Mr Travers, who was her co-habitant at the time, and her young nephew, were present in the house at the time.
All four were taken captive. It is claimed the robbers, who tied the victims' hands with cable and put tape over their eyes, knew a lot about her family.
She claims they were also threatened by the gang members. Mr Travers was warned he would be kneecapped, while at another stage of the robbery one of the gang threatened "to blow her head off".
Ms Smith claims they were told nothing would happen to them if Mr Travers "did what he was told".
Mr Travers was eventually taken away, while Ms Smith, her mother, and her nephew were bundled into the back of a van.
It is claimed they were driven for an hour before being told Mr Travers and other gang members had successfully entered the bank.
While they were in the van the robbers poured detergent in an attempt to clean up the scene. Ms Smith feared it was petrol and that they would be burned alive.
After the gang members left the van Ms Smith managed to free herself and the others. They were picked up in Ashbourne, Co Meath, and were taken to a garda station before being moved to hospital.
Since the incident Ms Smith and Mr Travers have split up. She claims her life has deteriorated. She says she suffers from flashbacks and nightmares, and cannot sleep with the lights off. She also says she has undergone counselling.
Prior to the kidnapping she had been an outgoing young woman, she says.