Scout leader who fractured spine sliding down firemen's pole wins £167, 500 damages (From Daily Echo)
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Scout leader who fractured spine sliding down firemen's pole wins £167, 500 damages
3:56pm Friday 15th February 2013 in News
A Hampshire scout leader who fractured his spine on a cross country assault course has won £167,514 damages.
Robert Wilson, 49, fell on his bottom after sliding down a fireman's pole on an obstacle called the Burma Bridge during a week's camp at the Clyne Farm Centre, near Swansea.
He suffered great pain from the injury to his first lumbar vertebra which needed surgical fixing and left him in a spinal brace for six months.
The discomfort affected his work as a taxi driver and made it difficult to help his disabled wife.
Today, Mrs Justice Swift allowed Mr Wilson's claim against chartered structural engineer Geoff Haden, trading as Clyne Farm Centre, who denied liability.
Mr Haden, who devised the course with the assistance of a former army assault course instructor, had told London's High Court that over 20 years about 300,000 people - half of them children - had used the course with no similar accident.
His lawyers claimed that Mr Wilson, of New Road, Whitehill, Bordon, Hampshire, was the author of his own misfortune.
The judge said that the August 2009 accident probably happened because Mr Wilson failed to appreciate the importance of wrapping his legs firmly around the pole immediately he launched himself onto it.
She added that as the course instructor concluded that the technique was so obvious that no demonstration was necessary, it was vital she should at least give clear and specific instructions about how to negotiate the pole, so as to control the speed of descent - but she did not.
''I consider that those circumstances gave rise to a breach of duty which on a balance of probabilities was causative of the claimant's accident.''