Wednesday, September 08, 2004

STI: Print Friendly Story - No one to blame for Teen's death

This is the story that gets my gall. How oh how could it be conceivable that NO ONE was to blame? This was no act of god, it was a lamppost that had rusted away till it collapsed and hit a teenage boy who was playing at the basketball court!

Possibly, what the article meant was that no one was criminally negligent. BUT surely there must be some civil liability on the part of the town council. This is an entirely justiciable (I'm sorry, I know this word does not exist, it's a legal term) case with regards to an exercise of Statutory power. One, this was not a policy issue, as we're not quibling over how often it ought to be checked. Two, this was an operational issue as it had been check a mere few days ago.

Hence, using Caparo's 3 stage test to determine Duty of Care. Was it reasonably foreseeable that such a danger would occur? Yes, it was next to the bloody basketball court. Was there proximity? Yes, circumstantial, physical and situational. Is it fair, just and reasonable for the courts to impose a duty of care? Absolutely, the town council now decides to bring in the necessary equipment to check for what it purports to be underground corrosion.

So was there breach of standard of care i.e. were the inspector's actions negligent? Even if one were to use the calculus of damage in this instance, one could quite conceivable argue that more precautions should be taken. Granted that shaking the lamppost might not have determined its fatal flaw but somehow I doubt that.

I hope that someone comes up with a real convincing reason soon.


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