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COURT RULES IN FAVOUR OF COUNCIL OVER LABOURER'S ANKLE INJURY

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A council labourer who injured his ankle when he fell while carrying out work in heavy rain, had his hopes of a com...
A council labourer who injured his ankle when he fell while carrying out work in heavy rain, had his hopes of a compensation pay-out finally dashed in London's civil court of appeal today.

Dilwyn Edmunds, 37, whose ankle has never fully recovered, sued his bosses Rhymney Valley DC, claiming he should never have been instructed to carry out the job of clearing a culvert by a stream in such weather conditions.

But his hopes of winning damages were destroyed when Judge Norman Francis dismissed his claim that the council had been negligent, ruling the fall had simply been an accident.

Today Mr Edmunds made a last-ditch attempt to revive his claim, urging the appeal court to overturn Judge Francis' ruling, made after a trial at Cardiff County Court in March last year. His counsel, Jonathan Walters, told the court Mr Edmunds, then 30, had been one of three workmen instructed to clear out a culvert at the rear of Faraday Drive, Forest Park, Penpedair Heol, near Gelligaer, Mid-Glamorgan, on July 4, 1990.

He said: 'Mr Edmunds had to make his way along steep banking at the side of the stream in order to reach the culvert.

'The banking was very slippery and it was raining heavily at the time. Mr Edmunds had to carry a rake and a shovel to clear the culvert and as he was making his way along the steep banking, he lost his footing, slipped and fell.

'This was a hazardous enterprise. It was not reasonable to expect these men to do this work when it was pouring with rain. It should have been postponed.'

But Andrew Green, counsel for Rhymney Valley, said Judge Francis 'showed good common sense' in dismissing Mr Edmunds' claim.

He added: 'He wasn't walking the plank. It was a path two-and-a-half feet in width along the bank of a stream.

'It was an accident pure and simple.'

And appeal judges Lord Justice Brooke and Brian Neill agreed, dismissing Mr Edmunds' appeal and with it, all hope of compensation.

Giving judgment, Lord Justice Brooke said: 'This was a group of mature, outside labourers sent out to do a job in the countryside.

'An employer cannot reasonably be expected to do much to protect his servant from the ordinary, natural hazards of the countryside.

'Given the judge's finding of fact that this was a bank which was reasonably safe, although wet and slippery, a finding the employer was not negligent inevitably follows.'

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