CLA: Prisoner’s slip and fall set aside on appeal

State of Queensland v Nudd [2012] QCA 281

I refer to my earlier posting. The appeal court upheld the appeal and found for the State of Queensland:

[19] As the primary judge observed, a small patch of water might be difficult to see even for a person conducting a specific inspection of the floor. That was certainly true of the water found to have caused the respondent’s fall. None of the respondent, Cook or Wright saw that water before the accident. Neither Cook nor Wright was found to have seen it after the accident. If anyone saw the relevant water after the accident, only the respondent did so. He described what he saw as a “fine spray” or a “tiny little puddle”. If he did see that water, he saw it only from his peculiar vantage point on the floor. His own evidence was that he saw it only because he was on the floor. This evidence was opposed to an inference, and no other evidence accepted by the primary judge was capable of justifying an inference, that the relevant “inconspicuous” water should have been visible upon a reasonable inspection by prison staff. On the evidence as a whole, I would hold that the respondent failed to prove his case because he failed to prove that a reasonable system of inspections probably would have detected the presence of that water before the respondent’s accident.

Brisbane Barrister – David Cormack

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