Headmaster fined £20,000 for no win no fee claim

After one pupil was left with permanent eye damage and a fractured skull after an A-level results celebration, a headmaster faces fines of £20,000 for his role in the accident claim.

Telling Mr John Summerfield that due to his ‘acts of folly’ the headmaster demonstrated an incredible lack of sound judgment when he took some mildly intoxicated students up to the roof of Mereyside’s Sacred Heart Catholic college.  One student suffered a personal injury claim when he fell through a skylight on the roof to the floor below.

The 65 year old Summerfield now faces an order to pay over £20,000 in personal injury compensation costs for his part in the injury.   Last month a jury of his peers convicted the headmaster of being in breach of the Health and Safety at Work Act when he broke school rules that forbid access to the roof by anyone.  The Crown Court of Liverpool found that Mr Summerfield ignored the risks inherent in his actions despite the good intentions of his actions.

The judge was informed that during the school’s celebration party, Mr Summerfield escorted a dozen sixth form students through a handful of locked doors in order to access the roof.  The students were warned by Mr Summerfield to avoid the skylights whilst they examined some renovation work from above, but 18 year old Joel Murray stumbled onto one.  Joel plummeted 8 feet down to land in the hallway below.

The student broke several ribs, damaged both eyes, perforated an eardrum, and fractured his skull. The court was informed that Joe’s injuries would haunt him for the rest of his natural life.

The accident claim occurred two years ago last August in the wake of the students receiving the results of their A levels.  While none of the students were determined to be legally drunk at the time of the incident, the court was told that the possibility that the students might have been feeling the initial effects of alcoholic beverages could not be denied.

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