In September 2007, a 14 yr retired police officer – now security officer – was assaulted while on duty at a wedding reception at the Victoria Point Sharks Sporting Club.
On arrival, Shane Baillie went for a stroll around the club and noted one guest in particular on the dance floor who appeared to be inebriated.
He didn’t lay eyes on that guest until the party was leaving when he, in company with another, approached Baillie at the reception desk to shake his hands in “what appeared to be a friendly exchange”. Immediately after the hand shake, the person-of-interest turned and viscously punched Baillie in the face, causing serious facial injuries.
Baillie claimed he had asked his employer Don Jackson to provide a second security officer, and that he initially refused to work solo until Jackson pleaded with him to do so.
His estimate of an uproarious wedding party of 120 to 150 guests was belied by other evidence that the court accepted showing there was only 80 present. The “very modest” wedding bar tab of $990 for 79 guests “was not even all used”!
His assertion that the club was “quite busy” was contradicted by other staff who said it was an unusually quiet Saturday night.
He sued Jackson and the club for failing to recruit a second security officer. Had there been a second officer, one of them – he claimed – would have stayed in the function room throughout the night.
Baillie’s evidentiary inconsistencies resulted in Judge John Mc Gill concluding his evidence was “not reliable” and the judge was “not prepared to accept his evidence, except in those cases where it is independently supported”.
In Baillie’s favour, the court accepted that if a reasonably careful operator of licensed premises would have provided more than one security officer, there was a breach of duty on their part.
However Judge McGill was not persuaded that the presence of a second security officer would have prevented the assault.
“Even if reasonable care did require the presence of a second security officer, I am not persuaded that it probably would have made any difference, and therefore that omission was not a cause of the plaintiff’s injury.”
Baillie’s claim was dismissed and he was ordered to pay the costs of the other parties legal costs.