5 Essex Court
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Alan Payne appeared successfully for the Defendant in Burn, De Man and Shalloe v The Ministry of Justice, a high value personal injury claim before Mr Justice Mackay.
In 2007, a prisoner at Wormwood Scrubs collapsed and appeared to be having a seizure. He was urgently transferred to hospital by ambulance, accompanied by the Claimants who at the time were prison officers. On arrival at hospital, it became clear that the prisoner had in fact been feigning illness in order to escape. The ambulance was intercepted by two armed accomplices who threatened the Claimants with a firearm and facilitated the prisoner's successful escape. As a result of the incident, the Claimants suffered psychiatric injury in the form of PTSD.
The Claimants contended, inter alia, that the decision to transfer the prisoner was not one which a reasonably competent doctor in the circumstances would have made, that this breached the duty of care owed to them by the Defendant and consequently imposed liability for their personal injury. Mackay J rejected this submission and found for the Defendant.
At the crux of the case was the allegation that the examination of the prisoner performed by the prison GP had consisted of no more than a cursory glance, and that if he had examined the prisoner properly he would have realised that he was feigning illness. As well as the prison GP, a nurse and two paramedics had attended the scene and concluded that the prisoner should be transferred to hospital.
It was not possible to trace the GP, nurse or paramedics and so the court did not hear their crucial evidence about the incident. However, upon hearing submissions from Counsel Mackay J did not make an adverse finding against the Defendant on the issue. Ultimately, it was held that the decision to transfer the prisoner to hospital was not one which no reasonably competent doctor would have taken and therefore was not negligent. Furthermore, it was held that the Claimants had not shown negligence on the part of the Defendant in relation to any of the other allegations made. Consequently, the claim failed in its entirety.
Alan practises in the areas of public law, human rights (domestic and international), immigration and asylum, police and prison law, civil liberties, employment and personal injury. Alan is Junior Counsel to the Crown (A panel).