Safer but not negligent not to mandate its use
In Nicholls v Ladbrokes  EWCA Civ 1963, a majority decision handed down on 11 July, Ladbrokes overturned an award of damages to Kerry Nicholls who had suffered psychiatric injury following a robbery at a betting shop in Walsall.
The original award rested on the decision of the trial judge that it was negligent of Ladbrokes not to have had in place a policy requiring the door to the shop to be kept shut with a magnetic lock during the hours of darkness. The shop in question had a magnetic lock but its use was inconsistent; one manager routinely used it at night while another did not.
The trial judge agreed with the case that the lock should have been used and Jackson LJ, giving the leading judgment in the Court of Appeal agreed and certainly felt that it was a decision the Judge was entitled to reach and so the appeal court should not interfere. Continue reading
In Saunders v Chief Constable of Sussex Police*, a police officer who suffered psychiatric illness after an incident with a violent suspect has failed in his appeal against the dismissal of his claim.
In spite of a finding of negligence on the part of the force when the officer returned to work, the trial judge found that it had not caused the subsequent mental breakdown and so the claim did not succeed.
In Mitchell & Others v United Co-operatives  EWCA Civ 348 the Court of Appeal was asked to consider the extent of an employer’s duty of care in respect of robberies from a shop. In doing so, it confirmed that the duty did not extend to preventing such robberies but only to taking reasonable steps to deter them. Continue reading
Wormwoord Scrubs Prison (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Prison officers who suffered PTSD after being exposed to a violent escape have lost their claim for damages.
A violent offender was at HMP Wormwood Scrubs where internal risk assessments recognised he posed a high risk to the public, a high risk of hostage taking and there was a high risk of J’s escape with assistance. The prison also had information he had plans to feign illness in order to be taken to hospital to obtain drugs.
The prisoner indeed feigned illness and persuaded a prison doctor to refer him to hospital. He was taken chained to a gurney and handcuffed to one of three prison officers.
On his arrival, 2 masked confederates opened the ambulance doors, one armed with a handgun and the other brandishing a pair of bolt croppers. The handgun was held to the centre of the forehead of an officer causing him to fear he would be shot while another officer was threatened to have his hand cut off if the prisoner was not released. Continue reading