Recent decision

The District Court in Townsville recently found in favour of a MurphySchmidt client who was assaulted in the course of her employment as a police officer in North-Western Queensland. 

His Honour Judge Baulch SC referred in his judgment to previous cases which had highlighted the inherent difficulty in determining liability in cases involving police officers and other emergency services personnel.  Because the work required of people at the front line of crisis situations (scenes of crime, accidents, natural disasters) inevitably exposes them to risks and dangers which their employer can do little to avoid, the courts have generally been reluctant to impose liability on the employer.

However, because of the particular circumstances of our client’s case and the way it was pleaded, the Court held there were a number of steps which could and should have been taken by the senior officer to reduce the danger.   It was also held that, if those steps had been taken, the risk of injury to our client would have been reduced and, perhaps, eliminated.

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