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A question of credibility

Hannah v Barellan Bobcat Hire Pty Ltd [2011] QSC 241Martin J
24 August 2011

Background

The claim arose out of an altercation in the workplace in July 2008.  The worker alleged he was assaulted by the company secretary of the employer and a co-worker (who was the son of the company secretary and director of the employer).

The facts

There was significant factual dispute as to how the altercation occurred with varying versions of events from the witnesses.

The worker alleged the son of the director was the aggressor and that the company secretary then joined in the assault.

The other witnesses alleged the worker was the aggressor and that any action taken by them was in order to protect themselves from the worker.

The worker had told two psychiatrists he saw in relation to the litigation that he had not used illicit drugs when in fact he had disclosed illicit drug use to his general practitioner on more than one occasion.

The Court also considered a police reported which indicated the worker had made an abusive telephone call to a police officer in relation to the matter.

Judgement

His Honour made unfavourable findings in relation to the worker's credibility, noting his untruthfulness to the two psychiatrists in relation to illicit drugs and the abusive telephone call to a police officer.

His Honour preferred the version of events of the other witnesses, and concluded that the worker's injuries were a consequence of his own actions.

In light of the factual findings his Honour did not find it necessary to determine whether, if the worker's version of events had been accepted, the employer was liable for the conduct of the company secretary and the co-worker in the altercation.

Quantum was assessed at $61,757.98 clear of the WorkCover Queensland statutory claim refund.

The worker's claim was dismissed and there was no award for damages.