Thursday, 17 October 2013

Court Case over a drain

Our retired solicitor in County Antrim, in his researches, picked up on a couple of court cases one of which involved a McIlhagga and a second a McIlhagger. The first was a case brought by a Mrs. Sargerson against McIlhagga and Another, on 9 September 1960. Mrs. Sanderson 'sustained personal injuries while walking on the footpath of a street in Belfast when she tripped over an iron gutter which had been cut in the footpath to carry away rain water from premises owned or occupied by the defendants. The top of the gutter had become raised above the level of the pavement and there was evidence that this condition had existed for some time'.

Apparently the Recorder of Belfast had dismissed a claim for damages but Mrs. Sargerson put in an appeal. Although there were no broken bones the knee was bruised and swollen, with continuing pain. Photographic evidence was submitted. The defendants tried to claim a technicality in the Belfast Corporation Act of 1845, making them not liable. However, it was said that 'owners and occupiers must take reasonable care to prevent danger to the public.' It was ruled that it was not a case for large damages and that a fair amount to award would be £20. The appeal was allowed.

The second case is considerably more interesting, which I will summarise in a subsequent blog.

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