By James Atkinson

A pub has avoided a $224,000 damages claim by a patron who was injured after she was tripped by a serial prankster, with a court ruling the publican could not have foreseen the incident.

The injured patron was playing pool at Darkan Hotel in Darkan in WA's Wheatbelt region when she was deliberately tripped by another patron from behind and twisted and fell to the floor landing on her buttocks, back and right shoulder. 

As a result she claimed to have suffered injury to her lumbar spine, aggravation of pre-existing problems to the right shoulder and psychological distress. She was unable to work or live independently following the incident.

The injured patron took legal proceedings against Darkan Hotel in the District Court of WA, claiming the pub's the management were aware that the man who tripped her was a serial prankster who had tried to trip other patrons on several other occasions.

She claimed the publicans had failed to take any steps to address the risk of injury arising from such behaviour.

But in his May 17 ruling, District Court Judge Richard Keen found that the publican could not have known that that the prankster would graduate from "pretending to trip a person to one who would deliberately trip" a person.

"I cannot conclude that if [the prankster] had been given a warning… he might not have gone on to do the deliberate act alleged," said Judge Keen.

However, he made a provisional assessment of damages of $224,404.80 – including general and special damages, economic loss and medical expenses – in case the decision might be varied on appeal.

The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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