Gareth Waite in Wales' first remote personal injury trial

Gareth Waite, a barrister at Iscoed Chambers, Swansea, was involved in what is thought to be one of the first remote multi-track personal injury trials to be heard in Wales last week (liability and quantum). The trial took place via Cloud Video Platform (CVP) at the Cardiff Civil Justice Centre before His Honour Judge Jarman QC on 12th June 2020. 

Gareth Waite, instructed by Gemma Stanley of Slater & Gordon, Liverpool, represented the claimant. The claimant, who was a serving Detective Sergeant at the time of incident, was bitten by a German Shepherd police dog whilst on duty in November 2015. The claimant was in pursuit of a suspect in Merthyr Tydfil with other police officers when he was instructed to make way for a police dog. The claimant moved as far over to the left out of the path of the police dog as he could but, rather than detain the suspect, the police dog bit the claimant to the back of his leg despite being on a lead by its handler. The claimant sustained two deep wounds and permanent scarring. The defendant denied liability blaming the claimant and suggested that the claimant should have moved further out of the way to avoid the dog biting him. It was also suggested that the bite was an accident ‘pure and simple’ in line with the Court of Appeal decision in Gloster v Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police [2000] P.I.Q.R. P114 . The judge, rejecting that this was an accident ‘pure and simple’ and distinguishing the case from Gloster, found the defendant was fully liable in negligence and that they had breached their duty of care as the claimant’s employer. The claimant was happy with the outcome. He also achieved better than his Part 36 offer and so the consequences under CPR 36.17(4) applied. 

Gareth Waite commented that, “the remote hearing went very well overall, despite some minor technical issues. The judge, both counsel, claimant, witnesses, and respective solicitors all attended via the Cloud Video Platform. Trial Bundles were available in a paginated and indexed electronic format and it was possible to share documents ‘live’ and to refer to these during the trial.”

Since the coronavirus pandemic, civil and criminal courts are making more use of remote technology to ensure that trials can still proceed, and matters progressed. Further details can be found here.