Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Couple must pay £2m to friend paralysed
in fall

A COUPLE who were ordered by a judge to pay a multi-million pound compensation claim to a friend who fell out of a first floor window at their Henley home have failed to overturn the decision.

A COUPLE who were ordered by a judge to pay a multi-million pound compensation claim to a friend who fell out of a first floor window at their Henley home have failed to overturn the decision.

Mark Pollock, 39, a Commonwealth Games rowing medallist, sued Enda and Madeline Cahill after he fell 25ft on to their patio in July 2010 during Henley Royal Regatta.

He suffered spinal injuries which left him paralysed and confined to a wheelchair.

Mr Pollock was staying with the couple in Remenham Lane when the incident happened just weeks before he was due to marry his fiancée, Simone George.

The Cahills had denied they were at fault but in July a High Court judge ruled against them.

Mr Justice William Davis said he was “wholly satisfied” that Mrs Cahill had left the window open and Mr Pollock probably fell through it as he was trying to make his way to the bathroom, having just woken up. He said: “I am satisfied that the Cahills failed to discharge the common law duty of care they owed as occupiers. The open window was a real risk to Mr Pollock. They created that risk.”

At the Appeal Court on Tuesday, Stephen Grime QC, for the Cahills, argued that the judge’s ruling was against the weight of evidence and he should have taken into account that Mr Pollock was a “resourceful” man and had stayed in the same room before.

An “ordinary domestic occupier”, like Mrs Cahill, would not have realised an open window on a warm day caused a particular danger to anyone. “Why should she have foreseen that something very unusual was going to take place?” said Mr Grime.

But Lord Justice Moore-Bick said said it was “clearly open to the judge to make the finding he did” about how Mr Pollock fell out of the window.

He said the important questions were whether Mrs Cahill left the window open and whether she should have foreseen the risk of doing so.

“In my view it is essentially a matter for the trial judge who has heard all the evidence from the witnesses to determine what was and was not foreseeable,” said Lord Justice Moore-Bick. “For these reasons I refuse permission to appeal.”

He said he had “enormous sympathy” for Mr Pollock and also for the Cahills for whom it was a “really unpleasant” thing to happen at their home.

Mr Pollock limited his claim to a maximum of £2 million, the limit of the Cahills’ household insurance, with the express intention of ensuring that the couple did not have to pay out themselves.



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