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Gaff v Torbay Council, Newton Abbot County Court, 1 May 2003

1 May 2003
The issues

Sports – Occupiers Liability – Referee’s responsibility.

The facts

The Claimant had an accident when playing football in a local league match for Belgrave Rangers against St Marychurch Rovers. He played in goal and on attempting to intercept a throw-in, fell when his left foot caught in a pothole in the pitch. He brought an action against Torbay, the owners of the pitch. The grounds maintenance company, and the Referee. He claimed that the pothole was 4 inches deep and a foot wide. He alleged liability against the First and Second Defendants for failing to inspect, repair and maintain and against the Third Defendant, the Referee, a volunteer substitute for the intended Referee, for failing to ensure that the pitch was in a fit condition before the players took the field

In evidence the Claimant withdrew his allegations against the Referee, who was let out from the action, which proceeded against the First and Second Defendants.

The decision

1. The Defendants operated a reasonable system of inspection.

2. The Claimant’s evidence with regard to the defect was unsatisfactory. There was no reliable evidence as to the circumstances of the accident or as to causation.

Claim dismissed.

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