Woman struck in the eye with cricket ball loses £17,000 court case

Jimmy Nsubuga
·2-min read
4K Aerial View Image Photo of Central London featuring the River Thames, Battersea Park and Chelsea Bridge in England UK
The incident happened in Battersea Park, London, in 2014 (Getty)

A woman who was struck in the eye with a cricket ball as she walked past a match has lost her battle for compensation.

Phoebe Lewis was “seriously injured” close to a boundary rope during a game in Battersea Park, southwest London, in August 2014.

She had initially won a county court judgement against Wandsworth Council after arguing safety signs should have been placed nearby but this decision was overruled by a High Court judge earlier this month.

She was awarded £17,000 in damages and the same amount in costs.

But Judge Mr Justice Stewart said in the judgement it should have been “obvious” to her a match was being played and dismissed her argument a “reasonable passer-by” would determine softer balls were being used.

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People in Battersea Park, London, as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus. (Photo by Kirsty O'Connor/PA Images via Getty Images)
People in Battersea Park (Getty)

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The judge added: “What I frankly fail to understand is how the Recorder [the judge in the case] could envisage that a cricket match played by adult men could be assumed by any reasonable passer-by to be using a soft ball.

“This would have been particularly so if they were wearing whites and therefore playing what would appear to be a serious match.

He said: “The finding that the warning should have been that a hard ball was being used about cannot be upheld.”

Cricket fan Ms Lewis had told the county court said she heard shouts from the amateur players and was then struck in the eye as she looked up.

She added: “I clutched my face and fell to the floor. The cricketers came over to see if I and my friend were alright.

“I asked if someone could call an ambulance as if my eyeball had fallen out or been destroyed and then it began to be painful.”

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Ms Lewis, who was a regular user of the park, said she never thought the pitch was being used by “professional-style players” but admitted she may have seen the players.

Her claim was disputed by Wandsworth Council which claimed the pitch was “clearly visible” and regular users would know a match was being played.

Despite this, the council lost the initial case, with the recorder determining it had failed in its duty of care by keeping the boundary path open to the public during a match.

He added Wandsworth Council had also failed to warn Ms Leiws a match was taking place.

Mr Justice Stewart disagreed and overturned the decision, saying “I reach the conclusion that the Recorder's judgement was wrong.”

Yahoo News UK has contacted Wandsworth Council for a comment.