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Verdict summary - Barrie Justin Tooley v Rebecca Small S CI 2016 03864

On 5 October 2017, a civil jury of six found that the defendant was not liable in negligence for injuries sustained by the plaintiff in a road accident that occurred on 4 September 2010 at Gritjurk in the Southern Grampians.

The accident occurred on a winding, hilly, single bitumen lane country road with gravel and grass verges, after significant rainfall during the day. The plaintiff alleged that the defendant was responsible for the accident by not moving her car far enough to her side of the road, forcing the plaintiff to move too far to his side of the road, and onto the wet grass verge. It was common ground that the plaintiff’s car became out of control after it went onto the grass verge and that, as a result, it veered back across the bitumen, and struck the front right-hand side of the defendant’s vehicle which was by then stationary or nearly so and on the defendant’s side of the roadway. The defendant denied that she was negligent and, in the alternative, argued that the plaintiff was contributorily negligent in that he was driving too fast for the conditions.

The jury’s verdict was that there was no negligence on the part of the defendant that was a cause of the accident. The Court gave judgment for the defendant accordingly.

 Note: a jury does not give reasons for its verdict.

Supreme Court of Victoria
Supreme Court of Victoria
Date of publication