Shahram Sharghy secures successful breach of duty verdict against English Heritage

News | Wed 21st Jan, 2015

Shahram has successfully represented a severely brain damaged client in his claim against English Heritage as occupiers of an ancient castle in a case heard this week.

The claimant Mr Taylor was visiting Carisbrooke Castle on the Isle of Wight with his wife and two grandchildren when he was severely brain damaged in a fall.  During their visit to the castle the family proceeded to a part of the fortification which contained cannons.  Beyond the cannons was a steep slope leading to a sheer drop off the top of a bastion wall.  There were no signs warning of the presence of the sheer drop or any fence or guard to demarcate the edge to an unsuspecting visitor.  Mr Taylor was unable to recall how he fell off the top of the bastion wall, but it was established that he must have built up some momentum to have fallen in the manner he did.

Shahram expertly cross examined the defence witnesses in order to establish that the risk should have been guarded against by the provision of signs and/or overgrown vegetation in order to clearly indicate the presence of the sheer drop and danger.

The Court was persuaded, despite Court of Appeal and House of Lords decisions to the contrary, that the Defendant had breached its duty towards Mr Taylor by failing to provide a relatively simple and inexpensive sign to warn visitors of the presence of the sheer drop.  The Court held that had such a warning been in place, Mr Taylor being a sensible and reasonable man would have heeded the warning and the accident would not have occurred.

The matter now proceeds to a quantum hearing, pending permission to appeal to the Court of Appeal.

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