IN THE EASTERN CARIBBEAN SUPREME COURT
IN THE HIGH COURT OF JUSTICE
CLAIM NO: SLUHCV2004/0502
P.C. 240 JOHN FLAVIEN
THE HONOURABLE ATTORNEY GENERAL OF SAINT LUCIA
Mr. S. Innocent for the Claimant
Mr. D. Lay for the Defendants
2007: December, 19th
1. This is an assessment of the damages due to the claimant to
him for the injury he suffered at the hands of the first defendant.
2. The claimant, who was 35 years old at the time, suffered a gunshot
injury to the anterior aspect of his right knee.
3. The bullet penetrated the limb completely leaving an entry wound one
centimeter in diameter and an exit wound one and one half centimeters
4. He was hospitalized and treated. He was discharged from hospital on
the same day. The limb was encased in plaster of paris. He was
restricted to bed for several weeks as he convalesced. About three (3)
months after the injury he was fully ambulant and undergoing therapy.
A medical report in January 2004 revealed that his wound had healed. No
note was made of any neurological deficit. He returned to work on April
5th 2004, some three and a half months after he was shot.
5. In his affidavit in support the claimant says that he was still
unable to walk
properly he could not flex his toes. He has not adduced any medical
evidence in support of this claim. He further swears that his injury
has impaired his mobility, crucial for his job as a waiter, to such an
extent that his employee fired him on 12tth October, 2004. Again he led
no supporting evidence of this at the assessment of damages stage. He
seeks damages, special as well as general. He also wishes to be awarded
6. As has been noted many times in these courts, a claimant must plead
particularize and prove his special damages. In this case the claimant
only pleaded loss of $ 695.23 as special damages. The defendants are
content that this amount be awarded. I therefore award the claimant
$695.23 as special damages.
Pain suffering and loss of amenities.
7. No special loss of amenities was pleaded. The medical evidence
suggests that the claimant has made a full recovery. Yet obviously
during his recovery he would have been restricted in enjoying the
simple pleasures of life. I made a modest award of $1,000 in this
9. For pain and suffering I award the claimant $25,000.00. In arriving
at this total I have carefully considered the authorities cited by both
counsel including the cases of A ugustin Duncan v Commissioner of Police
decided in 2006 in St. Lucia and Mitcham Black v
General SLUHCV 20010728 decided in 2004.
10. The claimant, now happily recovered is once again in full time
I make no award for any future loss of earnings.
11. The claimant seeks to receive exemplary damages. Mr. Innocent on
behalf submits that the conduct of the defendant in sufficiently
outrageous to warrant punishment. At the trial at which Edwards J (as
she then was) found the defendants liable she thought that the conduct
of the first defendant was negligent. It was not advertent conduct. His
behavior was exacerbated “because the alcohol he imbibed made him
12. The legal position as I understand it, is that the courts will very
an award of exemplary damages where the conduct is inadvertent. I
accept that there “may be the one case where the defendant departed so
far and so flagrantly from the dictates of ordinary or professional
precepts of prudence or standard of care” that it will satisfy the test
of outrageousness, leading to an award of exemplary damages. I do not
consider this to be such a case. Here the defendant, impaired by his
alcohol intake, and incensed by the taunting of a hostile crowd,
dischared a single round. I do not consider an award of
exemplary damages justified. I am guided in my analysis by the reasoning of
the Privy Council in A V Botnlll Privy Council Appeal NO. 10 of 2002 from which the
quotation above is taken.
- I award the claimant the sum of $6,000.00 in costs. I point out that on
basis of presented costs this award would have been higher but the conduct
of the litigation by the claimant, so lamented by Edwards J at paragraphs
127 and 128 of her judgement has necessitated a separate assessment of
damages. This extra expense ought to have been avoided. The reduction in
the award of costs is intended to discourage future claimants from
conducting their claims in a like manner.
BRIAN S. COTTLE
HIGH COURT JUDGE