$129k decision upheld

THE Fiji Court of Appeal has ruled the High Court in Lautoka was correct to order a payout of $129,919 to a woman whose husband died in a workplace accident in July 2012.

Sheetal Chand had refused to accept the $23,400 as compensation under the Workmen’s Compensation Act for the death of her husband, Raj Deo Singh, who died after drowning in a soak pit and took civil action against the company, Vision Trading Ltd.

High Court judge Justice Mohammed Mackie had awarded $129,919 to Ms Chand in October 2018. However, the company filed an appeal on 56 grounds.

The Court of Appeal has found Vision Trading Ltd was negligent.

“In view of the nature of work entrusted to the deceased, the most prudent course would have been for the appellant (Vision Trading Ltd) to have the work of the deceased supervised by an experienced person, who would have been mindful of the dangers inherent in the work,” stated Justice Susantha Lecamwasam in his ruling.

“The absence of a supervisor displays a lack of duty of care on the part of the appellant. “Had there been appropriate supervision, this unfortunate incident could have been averted.

“The lack of such supervision amply demonstrates the utter neglect and failure of duty of care on the part of the appellant towards the deceased.

“Therefore, I am more than satisfied that the appellant was negligent in this instant and therefore he cannot escape from civil liability.”

Justice Lecamwasam also ordered Vision Trading Ltd to pay $5000 in costs to Ms Chand.

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