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Paralysed teenager faces legal battle

PUBLISHED: 11:54 14 June 2002 | UPDATED: 12:05 03 March 2010

A TEENAGER paralysed for life in an accident on a school skiing trip is facing a fresh legal challenge in his attempt to be awarded damages for his injuries.

A TEENAGER paralysed for life in an accident on a school skiing trip is facing a fresh legal challenge in his attempt to be awarded damages for his injuries.

Simon Chittock was aged 17 when he cracked his spine in the accident in April, 1996, at Austria's Kuhtai resort at the end of a week-long trip organised by Woodbridge School.

The teenager, of Tronville Road, Clapham, south London, was injured after trying to "overtake" a slow-moving group of skiers. During the manoeuvre, he lost control, accidentally skiing off the edge of the piste.

Last year High Court judge, Mr Justice Leveson, ruled Woodbridge School had been 50per cent responsible for the accident, but that decision has now been challenge at the Appeal Court in London.

Edward Faulks QC, for Woodbridge School, said no-one could fail to feel "profound sympathy" for Simon, adding the incident had been a "tragedy for the school".

Staff had organised a series of similar successful trips before Simon's accident, while the supervising teacher's general approach had been "praised" by Mr Justice Leveson.

The principal basis of the High Court judge's ruling against the school rested on finding that the teacher in charge should have arranged closer supervision following an earlier incident when Simon and friends skied "off-piste".

Mr Faulks said the case had far-reaching implications for schools in terms of the duties involved in organising such trips.

"There is a degree of wider significance for all concerned with organising schools trips," he said.

The appeal, being heard by Lord Justice Auld, Lord Justice Carnwath and Sir Swinton Thomas,

continues.

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