Court ruling not good for parents, claim

PARENTS should be "horrified" a top private school has been cleared of blame for a skiing accident that paralysed a teenager for life, the injured man's father has said.

PARENTS should be "horrified" a top private school has been cleared of blame for a skiing accident that paralysed a teenager for life, the injured man's father has said.

Judges in the Court of Appeal stripped former Woodbridge School pupil Simon Chittock of at least £500,000 in damages, overturning a previous judgement his school was 50 per cent to blame for the accident that crippled him on a skiing trip to Kuhtai, Austria, in April 1996.

Mr Chittock, who was left wheelchair-bound at just 17, fell and injured his spine while skiing off-piste and a High Court judge ruled a year ago that a schoolteacher on the trip had not taken sufficient action to prevent the accident.

The judgement, stripped Mr Chittock of his right to claim compensation. It "devastated" his family, and his father, Ivan of Tuddenham Road, Ipswich, said the verdict the school was not at all responsible for the accident was "horrendous news" for parents.


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"It is quite right it is good news for teachers, but so many of us put our children on the bus to go on a school trip and expect them to come back, jump off the bus and fling their arms around you," he said.

"But all parents need to be concerned about this result because the responsibilities teachers have are not that great – the court cases showed there are no guidelines.

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"Whichever way this verdict went, it would have a significant impact on school trips. It should not stop them, but teachers should perhaps be more careful in the way they react to the children's behaviour."

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