By James Atkinson
A patron who was injured in an altercation with a bottleshop owner over the price of a case of beer has been denied a payout by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Assessor of Western Australia.
The assessor ruled this month on an incident that occurred in January 2010 when the patron, who was a 69-year-old taxi driver, went to the Liquor Barons store in Mount Hawthorn, Perth.
The taxi driver remonstrated aggressively with the manager of the store, Wayde Kelly, over the price of a case of Emu Export, which the taxi driver said was cheaper at Liquorland.
Kelly told him this was because the Coles-owned chain's buying power was greater, but the taxi driver ignored him and continued being argumentative.
As the dispute escalated the taxi driver became more abusive and was asked repeatedly to leave, before Kelly eventually pushed him out the door. The taxi driver fell onto his left side and suffered an injury to his hip.
According to the assessor's findings, Kelly pleaded guilty in March 2010 to a charge of aggravated assault occasioning bodily harm, the circumstances of aggravation being that the taxi driver was over 60 years of age.
The taxi driver lodged an application for compensation under WA's Criminal Injuries Compensation Act.
But chief assessor Helen Porter this month ruled that he had committed an offence of trespass and was therefore not entitled to compensation for the incident.
"I am also satisfied that he was being 'quarrelsome or disorderly' and was given an instruction to leave which he failed to comply with," she said.
She did not accept the taxi driver's evidence that he returned to the shop "merely to give friendly advice" that the alcohol he was selling could be bought for a lower price nearby.
"It is clear that the applicant was the author of his own misfortune," Porter said.
"He was given reasonable advice about the price of the products he was interested in and had a choice whether to accept those prices or not."
"By returning to the store and commencing an argument about the prices he contributed wholly to the happening of the incident which would not have occurred if he had complied with the instruction he had been given," she said.