Bouncy castle accident 'not couple's fault'

A couple found liable for an accident on a bouncy castle that left a boy brain-damaged have won their appeal against the ruling.

Sam Harris, now 13, of Spalding, Lincolnshire, suffered a broken skull after a 15-year-old boy kicked his head while performing a somersault on the castle in September 2005

Lawyers for Catherine Perry who, with her husband Timothy, was in charge of the party attraction, had told the Court of Appeal that her supervision was no different from that of "parents up and down the land".

They argued that High Court judge Mr Justice David Steel applied the wrong legal test to the conduct of Mrs Perry, who was supervising children using the castle, in relation to the conduct of reasonably careful parents in the same circumstances.

The judge ruled, in May, that the Perrys did not provide enough supervision after hiring the castle for their triplets' birthday party in Strood, Kent.

He found them liable for damages - estimated at more than £1 million - for Sam, who now needs round-the-clock care.

Today, Lord Chief Justice Lord Phillips, sitting with Lord Justice May and Lord Justice Wilson, said that Mrs Perry, who went to help another child on another inflatable during the seconds that the accident happened and had her back to the bouncy castle, could not be held at fault for the way that she acted.

"The manner in which she was supervising activities on the bouncy castle and the bungee run accorded with the demands of reasonable care for the children using them.

"The accident was a freak and tragic accident, It occurred without fault."

Sam was 11 when the much taller and heavier boy caught the left side of his head with a heel.

Bringing the case through his mother, Janet, of Long Lane, Gedney Hill, Spalding, Lincolnshire, he sued the Perrys of Jersey Road, Strood, Rochester, Kent.

Allowing the appeal by the Perrys, who were insured, Lord Phillips said that children played by themselves or with other children in a wide variety of circumstances.

"There is a dearth of case precedent that deals with the duty of care owed by parents to their own or other children when they are playing together.

"It is impossible to preclude all risk that, when playing together, children may injure themselves or each other, and minor injuries must be commonplace.

"It is quite impractical for parents to keep children under constant surveillance or even supervision and it would not be in the public interest for the law to impose a duty upon them to do so.

"Some circumstances or activities may, however, involve an unacceptable risk to children unless they are subject to supervision or even constant surveillance.

"Adults who expose children to such circumstances or activities are likely to be held responsible for ensuring that they are subject to such supervision or surveillance as they know, or ought to know, is necessary to restrict the risk to an acceptable level."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Digital Web Designer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Digital Web Designer is required to join a f...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive / Business Development Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity to develop an ...

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer - Junior / Middleweight

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: One of the South East's fastest growing full s...

Guru Careers: Marketing Manager / Marketing Communications Manager

£35-40k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Marketing Communicati...

Day In a Page

Fifa corruption: The 161-page dossier that exposes the organisation's dark heart

The 161-page dossier that exposes Fifa's dark heart

How did a group of corrupt officials turn football’s governing body into what was, in essence, a criminal enterprise? Chris Green and David Connett reveal all
Mediterranean migrant crisis: 'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves,' says Tripoli PM

Exclusive interview with Tripoli PM Khalifa al-Ghweil

'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves'
Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles: How the author foretold the Californian water crisis

Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles

How the author foretold the Californian water crisis
Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison as authorities crackdown on dissent in the arts

Art attack

Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison
Marc Jacobs is putting Cher in the limelight as the face of his latest campaign

Cher is the new face of Marc Jacobs

Alexander Fury explains why designers are turning to august stars to front their lines
Parents of six-year-old who beat leukaemia plan to climb Ben Nevis for cancer charity

'I'm climbing Ben Nevis for my daughter'

Karen Attwood's young daughter Yasmin beat cancer. Now her family is about to take on a new challenge - scaling Ben Nevis to help other children
10 best wedding gift ideas

It's that time of year again... 10 best wedding gift ideas

Forget that fancy toaster, we've gone off-list to find memorable gifts that will last a lifetime
Paul Scholes column: With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards

Paul Scholes column

With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards
Heysel disaster 30th anniversary: Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget fateful day in Belgium

Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget Heysel

Thirty years ago, 39 fans waiting to watch a European Cup final died as a result of a fatal cocktail of circumstances. Ian Herbert looks at how a club dealt with this tragedy
Amir Khan vs Chris Algieri: Khan’s audition for Floyd Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation, says Frank Warren

Khan’s audition for Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation

The Bolton fighter could be damned if he dazzles and damned if he doesn’t against Algieri, the man last seen being decked six times by Pacquiao, says Frank Warren
Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

How Stephen Mangan got his range

Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor