( In this civil action Bigot-Johnson was being sued under Occupiers' Liability for negligence. The plaintiffs were claiming breach of a statutory duty under the 1957 Act . Bigot of course elected to defend himself, and a short extract from the trial's transcript appears below. )
Counsel for the plaintiffs ( CP ) : Bigot .....I put it to you that as owner occupier of the Slaughter House Bridge Club you were under a statutory duty of care to see that all lawful visitors would be " reasonably safe in using the premises for the purposes for which they were invited or permitted by you to be there "
B-J : For God's sake man.....my premises are always safe for both lawful and unlawful visitors . Carpets are regularly nailed down.....big holes in the car park get immediately filled in with bodies of ex-members and quick-setting cement.......the vicious rottweilers are always kept chained up the cellar.....and all the highly toxic poisons we keep for emergencies are safely locked away in the boot of my car.....
CP : That may be all well and good , but the real danger that pervades your club house has nothing to do with the premises itself or its contents , fixtures and fittings....it has everything to do with the type of people you allow to play there !
B-J : What on earth are you insinuating .......that some my members pose risks to others ?
CP : Exactly, some of your more undesirable members are walking death traps, lethal assassins....ticking time bombs......posing danger at every turn and at every table . Error prone newcomers , especially beginners, are put at constant risk....
B-J : Ok...I must admit that from time to time a few players go a little bit over the top , when irritated or upset, but all that comes with the territory.
CP : Excuse me...but these so called merchants of death display all the characteristics of vicious psychopaths, looking out for any opportunity to sadistically bully and mentally torture helpless human prey. Look at these two clients of mine......psychologically broken and maimed....both now in constant need of psychiatric care.......mentally crippled for life.
B-J : Hold on there a mo.....these two bunnies only got what all bunnies get.....loads and loads of bollockings.
CP : Well, can I point out to you that in the case of Cunningham v Reading Bridge Club 1991 the court held that in certain circumstances an occupier may be liable for negligently failing to prevent deliberate injury done by one visitor to another. Throwing insults and abuse is no different from throwing stones, bricks and bridgemates........ they all cause severe injury and damage.
B-J : Oh....
CP : What won the case for the plaintiff was the fact that the wrong-doing was foreseeable.....and nothing was done to prevent it........no warnings, no interventions,....a complete absence of any supervision or control
B-J : Ah ....but surely these two numpties were equally aware of the risks and were quite prepared to accept them..... permitting me, therefore , to use the defence of consent.....referred to by you smart arse lawyers as volenti non fit injuria
CP: Nice try..... but no....the dangers they fell victim to were extra hazardous and out of the ordinary, being well outside what one would normally expect to encounter at a bridge club..... risks far beyond what they could be expected to foresee. To put it frankly.....they were victims of brutal psychological assaults that would make KGB torture methods look soft and fluffy in comparison
B-J : Oh....
Judge : " Oh " indeed....I have heard enough....You , Bigot, have created a club which truly lives up to its name. There was a duty of care imposed upon you, which you flagrantly breached by failing to ensure that novices and newcomers would be safe from known psychopathic bullies and predators,.....thugs..... who you allowed to go about their business with your obvious blessing. Therefore, I find in favour of the plaintiffs with each to receive £50,000 damages.....
BJ : Bugger .....there's goes my new Porsche and 3 month winter Mediterranean cruise