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Tuesday, February 2, 2021

huge six hit out of ground is a potential liability situation !!

A tort, in common law jurisdiction, is a civil wrong that causes a claimant to suffer loss or harm, resulting in legal liability for the person who commits the tortious act.  Tort law involves claims in an action seeking to obtain a private civil remedy, typically money damages.  .. thus, for an act of wrong or negligence – causing danger, injury, or nuisance to anyother person, the tortfeasor ie., the person committing such act would be legally liable !

Ever heard of  Bolton v. Stone [1951]  is a leading House of Lords case in the tort of negligence, establishing that a defendant is not negligent if the damage to the plaintiff was not a reasonably foreseeable consequence of his conduct.   Even in a Private place, but allowing access to public – the common duty of care is to take such care as in all circumstances of the case is reasonable to see that the visitor is reasonably safe in using the premises.


At Sydney today, fans returned for the game – but the Aussies put up a top-notch performance making 374/6, their highest against India in one-dayers and the charge of Hardik Pandya was not good enough !.. sixes galored though !. – wonder what will happen if the Cricket ball were to cause harm to someone else!

Way back in 1977 - in that Pongal Test, Mike Brearly pulled Prasanna.  The sound could be heard on the stadium.  Mohinder Amarnath standing at forward short leg took evasive action, but the ball struck his head and ricocheted towards the bowler, Prasanna took a simple catch.  It became a Caught & Bowled dismissal.

Perhaps before 10 pm on 27.9.2020, he was trolled as badly or more than what Murali Vijay has been receiving – he himself had to say – ‘that was the worst first 20 balls that I have ever played.  Leg-spin bowling all-rounder Rahul Tewatia was traded to Rajasthan Royals from Delhi Capitals ahead of IPL 2020.  Tewatia smacked Sheldon Cottrell for five sixes in a match-turning, match-defining 18th over, and an improbable 51 off 18 balls turned into a far more straightforward 21 off 12.  IPL 2020 also saw legendary Chris Gayle hitting   1000 (ONE THOUSAND) sixes in Twenty20 cricket.  Way back in 2012 at Bangalore, a 10-year-old spectator Tia Bhatia,  was injured when a six from Chris Gayle broke her nose, she was admitted into and provided care in a hospital, where Gayle later visited.  

Matches at Sharjah saw some huge sixers.  AB de Villiers was at his imperious best against Kolkata Knight  Riders – his hits sailed over the stadium and landed on the streets. In fact, one of the sixes literally stopped the traffic.  Decades ago, a young bowler in Buchi Babu (was it Hoshidar Contractor ?) was hit out of the park in Marina by Krish Srikkanth and the ball landed crossing the beach road !

This is no post on such huge hits – in 1983 WC, when David Hookes sent the ball soaring, commentator said, not a great shot – for my car is parked over there. Yes, the ball clearing the field could cause damages – of personal injuries and property damage – who would then be responsible ? – the player, the team, or the Ground or the Association staging the game ???

Read this interesting newsitem in today’s MailOnline  detailing a case decided in the High Court of Justice, Queen’s Bench Division in UK -  A woman who was struck in the eye with a cricket ball at a local park has lost her £17,000 damages claim. Phoebe Lewis was hit in the face as she walked near to a boundary rope during a match in Battersea Park, London.   She successfully sued Wandsworth Council in the county courts, claiming signs should have been erected while the match was being played.  But a High Court judge has now overruled her win in the lower courts, according to a judgement from the case which has been posted online.

The judge said it was 'obvious' a match was being played and rubbished the idea that a 'reasonable passer-by' would think the players would be using a soft ball. In overturning the decision by the county courts, Judge Mr Justice Stewart said: 'What I frankly fail to understand is how the Recorder [the judge in the case] could envisage that a cricket match played by adult men could be assumed by any reasonable passer-by to be using a soft ball.

Battersea Park is a 200-acre (83-hectare) green space in south-west London;  cricket fields have been laid out in the park since it was opened. The initial incident took place in August 2014 and involved amateur players from a league. Ms Lewis was walking with a friend on a path around eight metres from the boundary of the match at Battersea Park when she heard shouts from cricket players. As she looked up she was struck by the ball 'square' in the eye.  She  suffered a 'serious injury'.  She later told the court that she was a 'regular user' of the park and that  'could not deny' that she knew a pitch was there. But she said that she 'never thought there were professional-style players using them'. She later said she 'did not see any signs', adding: 'I think there ought to have been some form of signage. 'I did not know that cricket played in a public park was played with a real cricket ball, which is really hard. If there had been a sign I think I would have noticed it. 'If a sign had warned me of either hard balls or a risk of injury, I would have paid more attention to the game.' She later took her claim against the council to Wandsworth County Court.

Wandsworth Council disputed her claim, saying the pitch is 'clearly visible' from where she was walking, that it was 'obvious' a game was being played and that 'anyone who frequents the park on a reasonably regular basis during the summer months would be aware that cricket is taking place'. But a Recorder ruled in Ms Lewis' favour, saying the council did owe a duty of care and had 'failed' in that duty because it had allowed pedestrians to walk along the boundary and had 'failed to warn' the claimant that a game was in progress. Last year she was awarded almost £17,000 in damages and an equal sum in costs.

But at the High Court earlier this month Mr Justice Stewart overturned the decision. He said: 'I reach the conclusion that the Recorder's judgement was wrong. 'He failed to take account of material factors and there was a lack of logic in his analysis of the facts. 'In the circumstances which obtained, allowing pedestrians to walk along the path when a cricket match was taking place was reasonably safe, the prospects of an accident (albeit nasty if it occurred) being remote.'

In the case referred earlier - Bolton v. Stone, the  plaintiff was hit by a cricket ball which had been hit out of the ground; the defendants were members of the club committee. On 9 August 1947, during a game of cricket against the Cheetham 2nd XI at Cheetham Cricket Ground in Manchester, a batsman from the visiting team hit the ball for six. The ball flew out of the ground, hitting the claimant, Miss Stone, who was standing outside her house in Cheetham Hill Road, approximately 100 yards (91 m) from the batsman.  The claimant argued that the ball being hit so far even once was sufficient to give the club warning that there was a risk of injuring a passer-by, fixing it with liability in negligence for the plaintiff's injuries. The claimant also claimed under the principle in Rylands v Fletcher, that the ball was a dangerous item that had "escaped" from the cricket ground, and in nuisance.

Interesting ! 

With regards – S. Sampathkumar



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