Belfast student awarded £2k after Lucozade confiscated at concert

Kayla Hanna, was on her way into the concert at Boucher Road, Belfast in August 2016. Credit: Picture credit: Equality Commission

A Belfast student who has Type 1 Diabetes has been awarded £2,000, after security staff refused to allow her to bring a glucose drink into a concert.

Security personnel employed by Eventsec Ltd confiscated a bottle of Lucozade from her at a Red Hot Chili Peppers concert in August 2016.

Kayla Hanna said she needed the drink in case her blood sugar levels dropped. She said she showed staff a tattoo on her wrist indicating she had diabetes as well as her insulin pack.

However, staff insisted they had a strict policy and would not allow Kayla to bring the drink inside.

Kayla said: “I was very anxious and upset throughout the concert. I stood away from the area near the stage where my friends were because I was afraid something would happen to me and I would not have the Lucozade.

“This had never happened me at other concerts I went to. I really hope that, now this issue has been brought to light, it won't happen again to me or other people who live with diabetes.”

Kayla contacted the Equality Commission who supported her to bring a case before Belfast County Court alleging a breach of the Disability Discrimination Act.

The Court made a finding of discrimination and Judge Gilpin stated that Eventsec had failed to provide a reasonable adjustment to its policy of not allowing liquids to be brought into the concert.

Mary Kitson, Senior Legal Officer, Equality Commission for Northern Ireland said: “They are in the Act to ensure that people with disabilities are not denied access to services by reason of general policies which can, in themselves, be otherwise justifiable and necessary.”

She added: “In this case, the company should have made arrangements to ensure that Kayla could have accessed Lucozade during the concert if needed, for example by directing her to its own medical centre at the venue and providing her with a bottle of Lucozade. That would have been a simple adjustment and would have met her medical needs.”

A spokesperson for Eventsec said the company is disappointed by the court's decision.

"We are heartened by Judge Gilpin’s comments that he had no concern about the general policy of prohibiting patrons from bring their own fizzy drinks to concerts and that this policy had much to commend it," they said.

"We are further glad to note that the Judge acknowledged that the Company had considered what reasonable adjustments needed to be put in place in order to meet the needs of those patrons with diabetes.

"Our normal practice when implemented is in compliance with our duty to make reasonable adjustments under the Disability Discrimination Act. "

They added: "The Company would remind all patrons who need to manage a medical condition via food and drink to contact the concert promoter in advance of attending the concert. Patrons are further reminded that there are clearly marked medical facilities at concerts with highly trained medical staff (including doctors and nurses) who are able to provide treatment and assistance for many medical conditions, including diabetes."