Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The High Court - had too much to drink? Sorry, it's your problem

This is long overdue. From RWDB - JF Beck:
In something of a landmark decision the Australian High Court has gone against the legal flow, so to speak, in ruling that a publican does not necessarily owe a duty of care to alcohol-consuming patrons. The decision relates to a 2002 fatal incident in Tasmania.

Shane Scott was drinking at the Tandara Motor Inn, consuming seven or eight cans of premixed bourbon and cola over three hours. Upon being told it was time to call it a night Scott demanded the return of his motorcycle keys, held for safekeeping by the publican. The publican was reluctant to hand over the keys, ultimately doing so after some considerable pressure from Scott. Scott rode off to his death; his blood alcohol reading was .253 (the legal limit is .05). His wife sued claiming negligence.

As the ruling has potentially cut off a source of income, some in the legal profession are, well, upset:
[The ruling is] conservative in that it harks back to a different era in a way, that is, the era if you want to drink you can drink.

Society doesn't really agree with that.

A person's decision to drink is his alone, as is the decision when to stop because you've had enough. Since such responsibility can't be delegated it's unreasonable to ask publicans to monitor and manage their patrons' alcohol consumption.

Posted via email from Garth's posterous

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