ON APPEAL FROM NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE
MR JUSTICE BURNETT
Strand, London, WC2A 2LL
B e f o r e :
LORD JUSTICE SEDLEY
LORD JUSTICE HOOPER
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Mr Woolf (instructed by Watson Burnett) appeared on behalf of the Respondent.
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Lord Justice Sedley:
"I know from experience that horse riders often travel in pairs, so I slowed in case a second horse appeared."
"that the defendant was in breach of duty in failing to appreciate the possibility of a second horse emerging and then speeding up before reaching the bridleway."
"Had he been doing even a few miles an hour slower the likelihood is that he would have stopped before impact."
"I consider that the Defendant's blameworthiness, that is to say because he was driving a vehicle, had more causative effect than that of the Claimant."
I think probably at that point the judge meant "conduct" rather than "blameworthiness". He then turned to blameworthiness in paragraph 36 and said:
"The question I am concerned with relates to the prudence to be expected of an experienced 14 year old rider, as was the Claimant. I do not think that it is appropriate to equate her with a child of 10 running from a pavement into the path of a vehicle. The Claimant fully recognised the need to check before crossing the road. She was an extremely experienced rider, who had been taught for the best part of seven years. It is accepted that she made an error, which amounted to a failure to stop and a failure to look before crossing."
"In terms of her blameworthiness, even making some allowance for her relative youth, I am satisfied that she was significantly more at fault than was the Defendant. He was at fault in respects that I have identified, but his blameworthiness is, as it seems to me, at the lower end of the scale, given that I have concluded that he was keeping a proper look out and his speed was a good deal lower than it might well have been on that road. Taking account of both blameworthiness and causative effect, my conclusion is that contributory negligence in this case should be 50%."
"But nonetheless, bearing in mind the fact that this court has consistently imposed on the drivers of cars a high burden to reflect the fact that a car is potentially a dangerous weapon, I find it difficult to see how I could properly categorise the judge's apportionment in this case as plainly wrong.."
Lord Justice Hooper:
Order: Appeal dismissed