eyewitnesses gave evidence, along with the defendant’s then girlfriend. Two of
the independent witnesses were clear that the defendant had driven violently
and aggressively with the claimant on the bonnet, and this, together with the
evidence of the defendant’s former girlfriend concerning the claimant’s
behaviour, led the judge to conclude that both the claimant and the defendant
had behaved badly. The evidence from both the claimant and the defendant
themselves was not satisfactory and the defendant had deliberately exaggerated
his fear for his life.
The court held that the
defendant had committed a battery by deliberately applying potentially lethal
force to the claimant. As the claimant was an unarmed pedestrian, the
defendant’s actions both in driving towards the claimant and moving the car to
remove the claimant from the bonnet could not be said to have been defensive.
As regards the public policy issue, although the claimant had agreed to take
part in an unlawful confrontation, the claimant’s injuries had been sustained
as a result of the defendant committing a different kind of serious crime
against the claimant. The judge remarked that, in the context of causation, the
defendant’s use of the car was comparable to him using a knife. The defendant
was therefore liable for the claimant’s injuries.
It is an interesting
case in that the witness evidence and the fact the defendant had been in a car
probably swayed the judge in the claimant’s favour. Cases of this nature are of
course fact sensitive.
Carr and Ellen Lucas, Anthony Gold Solicitors