Paralysed contractor gets no joy in court

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A TREE surgeon paralysed after falling 50ft from an ancient horse chestnut which he was trying to dismantle has lost his damages claim against the National Trust.

Jamie Yates was injured while working on trust land at Morden Hall Park, in London, in December 2009.

Mr Yates, 26, of Carleton Road, Chichester, who has no memory of the accident which left him in a wheelchair, was using a chainsaw on the decayed 80ft-high tree. Mr Justice Nicol at London’s High Court was told that it was likely that a branch Mr Yates was using as an anchor point for his safety rope snapped.

Mr Yates, who was self-employed and working for an independent contractor, had never dismantled a tree of such height before, the court heard.

Dismissing the case, the judge said that even if the trust owed Mr Yates a duty of care in deciding to hire the contractor, which it did not, it was not in breach of that duty as it was entitled to regard the contractor as ‘reasonably safe and competent’.

He added: ‘The claimant is entitled to compensation from the NT if, and only if, the NT owed him a relevant duty of care. I have concluded that it did not.’