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Beven v Brisbane Youth Service Inc[2016] QSC 163

Beven v Brisbane Youth Service Inc[2016] QSC 163

 

SUPREME COURT OF QUEENSLAND

  

CITATION:

Beven v Brisbane Youth Service Inc [2016] QSC 163

PARTIES:

LINDSEY CALVERT BEVEN

(plaintiff)

v

BRISBANE YOUTH SERVICE INC

(ABN 83 967 756 338)

(defendant)

FILE NO:

SC 6170 of 2014

DIVISION:

Trial

PROCEEDING:

Trial

DELIVERED ON:

28 July 2016

DELIVERED AT:

Brisbane

HEARING DATES:

30 November 2015; 1, 2 December 2016

JUDGE:

Atkinson J

ORDERS:

  1. WorkCover is to pay the plaintiff damages in the sum of $1,508,639.35.
  2.  WorkCover is to pay the plaintiff’s standard costs from 5 May 2014.

CATCHWORDS:

TORTS – NEGLIGENCE – ESSENTIALS OF ACTION FOR NEGLIGENCE – WHERE NERVOUS SHOCK OR MENTAL DISORDER – GENERALLY – where the plaintiff was employed as a family support worker with the defendant – where she was sexually assaulted by a client of the defendant, following which she suffered serious psychiatric illness – where other employees of the defendant had previously ceased working with the client because they felt unsafe due to the client’s sexualised and violent behaviour and threats – whether the defendant owed a duty of care to the plaintiff – whether it breached that duty – whether the plaintiff’s harm was caused by the defendant’s breach – whether it is appropriate that the scope of the liability of the employer extend to the injury so caused

Workers’ Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 2003 (Qld), s 32, s 46, s 305, s 305B, s 305D, s 306O, s 306P

Workers’ Compensation and Rehabilitation Regulation 2003 (Qld), s 129, s 130, Schedule 8, Schedule 9, Schedule 12

Workplace Health and Safety Act 1995 (Qld), s 28, s 29

Bankstown Foundry Pty Ltd v Braistina (1986) 160 CLR 301; [1986] HCA 20, considered

Barber v Somerset County Council [2004] 2 All ER 385, cited

Gifford v Strang Patrick (2003) 214 CLR 269; [2003] HCA 33, cited

Hamilton v Nuroof (WA) Pty Ltd (1956) 96 CLR 18; [1956] HCA 42, cited

Hatton v Sutherland [2002] 2 All ER 1, cited

Koehler v Cerebos (Australia) Ltd (2005) 222 CLR 44; [2005] HCA 15, distinguished

O'Connor v Commissioner for Government Transport (1954) 100 CLR 225; [954] HCA 11, cited

Tame v New South Wales (2002) 11 CLR 317; [2002] HCA 35, cited

Wyong Shire Council v Shirt (1980) 146 CLR 40; [1980] HCA 12, applied

COUNSEL:

J P Kimmins for the plaintiff

R Morton for the defendant

SOLICITORS:

Maurice Blackburn for the plaintiff

McInnes Wilson for the defendant

  1. The plaintiff, Lindsey Beven, was employed as a family support worker with the Brisbane Youth Service Inc (“BYS”).  On 12 April 2011, she was sexually assaulted by a client of BYS, referred to in this decision as T.  Following that sexual assault Ms Beven suffered a serious psychiatric illness.  This case was to determine the liability of BYS for the injury that Ms Beven suffered.

Duty of care

  1. As the plaintiff alleged in her further amended statement of claim, it was an implied term of the contract of employment between the plaintiff and the defendant, and it was the duty of the defendant, its servants or agents, to take reasonable care to avoid foreseeable risk of injury to the plaintiff while she was engaged in carrying out work in the defendant’s undertaking.  That was admitted by the defendant.
  2. The duty of care of an employer to an employee was set out by the High Court in Hamilton v Nuroof (WA) Pty Ltd[1] where Dixon CJ and Kitto J held that the duty “is that of a reasonably prudent employer and it is a duty to take reasonable care to avoid exposing the employees to unnecessary risks of injury.”  As the High Court reiterated in Bankstown Foundry Pty Ltd v Braistina,[2] “it has long been recognized that what is a reasonable standard of care for an employee’s safety is ‘not a low one’: O'Connor v Commissioner for Government Transport.[3]
  3. The application of what constitutes a reasonable standard of care is a factual matter and may evolve as understanding of the risks of certain types of employment develops.  In Bankstown Foundry Pty Ltd v Braistina,[4] Brennan and Deane JJ observed:

“Contemporary decisions about what constitutes reasonable care on the part of an employer towards an employee in the running of a modern factory are in sharp conflict with what would have been considered reasonable care in a 19th century workshop and, for that matter, reflect more demanding standards than those of 20 or 30 years ago.  While it is true that that has, in part, been the consequence of the elucidation and development of legal principle, it has, to a greater extent reflected the impact, upon decisions of fact, of increased appreciation of the likely causes of injury to the human body, of the more general availability of the means and methods of avoiding such injury and of the contemporary tendency to reject the discounting of any real risk of injury to an employee in the assessment of what is reasonable in the pursuit by an employer of pecuniary profit.”

  1. With regard to the duty of care owed to an employee to avoid psychiatric injury, the plurality in the High Court in Koehler v Cerebos (Australia) Ltd[5] held:

“The content of the duty which an employer owes an employee to take reasonable care to avoid psychiatric injury cannot be considered without taking account of the obligations which the parties owe one another under the contract of employment, the obligations arising from that relationship which equity would enforce and, of course, any applicable statutory provisions.”

  1. The court rejected an argument advanced by the appellant which relied upon the English Court of Appeal decision in Hatton v Sutherland[6] that, where an employee claims damages from an employer for negligently inflicted psychiatric injury, only one question need be considered, namely, whether this kind of harm to this particular employee was reasonably foreseeable.[7]  The plurality in the High Court preferred the view expressed by Lord Rodger of Earlsferry in the House of Lords in Barber v Somerset County Council,[8] one of the cases considered in Hatton v Sutherland, that it is only when the contractual position between the parties (including the implied duty of trust and confidence between them) “is explored fully along with the relevant statutory framework” that it would be possible to give appropriate content to the duty of reasonable care upon which an employee claiming damages for negligent infliction of psychiatric injury at work would seek to rely.  The plurality considered that the content of the duty of care was not sufficiently stated merely by saying that the employer had a duty to take all reasonable steps to provide a safe system of work.  The limits on the kind of steps required of an employer and therefore whether there has been a breach of the duty of care are determined by the question of reasonable foreseeability.
  2. In Koehler the High Court held that the Full Court of the Supreme Court of Western Australia was right to conclude that a reasonable person in the position of the employer would not have foreseen the risk of psychiatric injury to the appellant for two reasons.  The first was that the appellant had agreed to perform the duties that were a cause of her injury and the second was that the employer had no reason to suspect she was at risk of psychiatric injury.  Little significance was attributed by the High Court to her agreement to perform the duties which brought about her injuries.  However the Court also observed that in another case an employee’s agreement to perform duties whose performance is later found to be a cause of psychiatric injury might have greater significance.
  3. So far as foreseeability of psychiatric injury was concerned, the Court referred to the decision of Tame v New South Wales[9] where the court held that “normal fortitude” was a not a precondition to liability for negligently inflicting psychiatric injury.  In Koehler the plurality said that “the central enquiry remains whether, in all the circumstances, the risk of a plaintiff (in this case the appellant) sustaining a recognisable psychiatric illness was reasonably foreseeable, in the sense that the risk was not far-fetched or fanciful”.[10]  In doing so it adopted the well-known test from Wyong Shire Council v Shirt.[11]
  4. In Wyong Shire Council v Shirt[12] Mason J, Stephen and Aickin JJ agreeing, held:

“A risk of injury which is quite unlikely to occur … may nevertheless be plainly foreseeable.  Consequently, when we speak of a risk of the injury as being ‘foreseeable’ we are not making any statement as to the probability or improbability of its occurrence, save that we are implicitly asserting that the risk is not one that is farfetched or fanciful.  Although it is true to say that in many cases the greater the degree of probability of the occurrence of the risk the more readily it will be perceived to be a risk, it certainly does not follow that a risk which is unlikely to occur is not foreseeable.”

  1. His Honour held that a risk that is not far-fetched or fanciful is real and therefore foreseeable.  That is not the end of the question of whether there has been a breach of duty.  Consideration of whether there has been a breach of duty requires consideration of what a reasonable employer would do in response to that foreseeable risk.
  2. Mason J held:[13]

“In deciding whether there has been a breach of duty of care the tribunal of fact must first ask itself whether a reasonable man in the defendant’s position would have foreseen that his conduct involved a risk of injury to the plaintiff or to a class of persons including the plaintiff.  If the answer be in the affirmative, it is then for the tribunal of fact to determine what a reasonable man would do by way of response to the risk.  The perception of the reasonable man’s response calls for a consideration of the magnitude of the risk and the degree of the probability of its occurrence, along with the expense, difficulty and inconvenience of taking alleviating action and any other conflicting responsibilities which the defendant may have.  It is only when these matters are balanced out that the tribunal of fact can confidently assert what is the standard of response to be ascribed to the reasonable man placed in the defendant’s position.”

Statutory framework

  1. As the High Court held in Koehler, the statutory framework should be taken into account.  The relevant statutes in this case are the Workplace Health and Safety Act 1995 (Qld)[14] (“WHSA”) and the Workers’ Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 2003 (Qld) (“WCRA”).
  2. The plaintiff alleged that it was the duty of the defendant pursuant to s 28(1) of WHSA to ensure that the workplace health and safety of the plaintiff was not affected by the conduct of the defendant’s business or undertaking.  This does not create a discrete cause of action but may be relevant to the content of the duty of the employer to its employees.
  3. Sections 28 and 29 of WHSA provided:

28Obligations of persons conducting business or undertaking

(1)A person (the relevant person) who conducts a business or undertaking has an obligation to ensure the workplace health and safety of the person, each of the person’s workers and any other persons is not affected by the conduct of the relevant person’s business or undertaking.

(2)The obligation is discharged if the person, each of the person’s workers and any other persons are not exposed to risks to their health and safety arising out of the conduct of the relevant person’s business or undertaking.

(3)The obligation applies—

(a)whether or not the relevant person conducts the business or undertaking as an employer, self-employed person or otherwise; and

(b)whether or not the business or undertaking is conducted for gain or reward; and

(c)whether or not a person works on a voluntary basis.

29What obligations under s 28 include

Without limiting section 28, discharging an obligation under the section includes, having regard to the circumstances of any particular case, doing all of the following—

(a)providing and maintaining a safe and healthy work environment;

(b)providing and maintaining safe plant;

(c)ensuring the safe use, handling, storage and transport of substances;

(d)ensuring safe systems of work;

(e)providing information, instruction, training and supervision to ensure health and safety.”

  1. Additionally, WCRA contains a number of other relevant provisions.  Section 46(1) of WCRA provides that an employer is legally liable for compensation for injury sustained by a worker employed by the employer.  However s 46(2) makes it clear that while WCRA regulates access to damages it does not itself impose any legal liability on an employer for damages for injuries sustained by an employee.
  2. Civil liability for personal injury is regulated by Chapter 5 Part 8 of WCRA.  In that part, duty of care is defined as follows:

duty means any duty giving rise to a claim for damages, including the following—

(a)a duty of care in tort;

(b)a duty of care under contract that is concurrent and coextensive with a duty of care in tort;

(c)another duty under statute or otherwise that is concurrent with a duty of care mentioned in paragraph (a) or (b).

duty of care means a duty to take reasonable care or to exercise reasonable skill (or both duties).”

  1. The content of the duty and its breach are dealt with in Division 2 of Part 8.  Section 305B sets out the general principles as follows:

“(1)A person does not breach a duty to take precautions against a risk of injury to a worker unless—

(a)the risk was foreseeable (that is, it is a risk of which the person knew or ought reasonably to have known); and

(b)the risk was not insignificant; and

(c)in the circumstances, a reasonable person in the position of the person would have taken the precautions.

(2)In deciding whether a reasonable person would have taken precautions against a risk of injury, the court is to consider the following (among other relevant things) —

(a)the probability that the injury would occur if care were not taken;

(b)the likely seriousness of the injury;

(c)the burden of taking precautions to avoid the risk of injury.”

  1. WCRA also has specific provisions which treat a psychiatric injury differently from other injuries.  Such an injury[15] is said to be personal injury arising out of, or in the course of, employment if:

“(a)for an injury other than a psychiatric or psychological disorder—the employment is a significant contributing factor to the injury; or

(b)for a psychiatric or psychological disorder—the employment is the major significant contributing factor to the injury.” (emphasis added)

  1. Under s 32(3) of WCRA, an injury is said to include the following:

“(a)a disease contracted in the course of employment, whether at or away from the place of employment, if the employment is a significant contributing factor to the disease;

(b)an aggravation of the following, if the aggravation arises out of, or in the course of, employment and the employment is a significant contributing factor to the aggravation—

(i)a personal injury other than a psychiatric or psychological disorder;

(ii)a disease;

(iii)a medical condition other than a psychiatric or psychological disorder, if the condition becomes a personal injury or disease because of the aggravation;

(ba)an aggravation of a psychiatric or psychological disorder, if the aggravation arises out of, or in the course of, employment and the employment is the major significant contributing factor to the aggravation.” (emphasis added)

  1. The aggravation referred to in s 32(3)(b) and (ba) is an injury only to the extent of the effects of the aggravation: WCRA s 32(4).
  2. The general principles of the law with regard to causation are set out in s 305D of WCRA which provides as follows:

“(1)A decision that a breach of duty caused particular injury comprises the following elements—

(a)the breach of duty was a necessary condition of the occurrence of the injury (factual causation);

(b)it is appropriate for the scope of the liability of the person in breach to extend to the injury so caused (scope of liability).

(2)In deciding in an exceptional case, in accordance with established principles, whether a breach of duty—being a breach of duty that is established but which can not be established as satisfying subsection (1)(a)—should be accepted as satisfying subsection (1)(a), the court is to consider (among other relevant things) whether or not and why responsibility for the injury should be imposed on the party in breach.

(3)If it is relevant to deciding factual causation to decide what the worker who sustained an injury would have done if the person who was in breach of the duty had not been so in breach—

(a)the matter is to be decided subjectively in the light of all relevant circumstances, subject to paragraph (b); and

(b)any statement made by the worker after suffering the injury about what he or she would have done is inadmissible except to the extent (if any) that the statement is against his or her interest.

(4)For the purpose of deciding the scope of liability, the court is to consider (among other relevant things) whether or not and why responsibility for the injury should be imposed on the party who was in breach of the duty.”

  1. The assessment of damages is in turn regulated by Chapter 5 Part 9 of WCRA which will be referred to in detail later in this decision.

Employer’s liability for psychiatric injury

  1. The relevant duty of care in a case such as this is the duty of the employer to provide a safe system of work.  If that duty arises, then the employer is in breach of that duty if it did not do what a reasonable employer would do in response to a reasonably foreseeable risk that its employee would suffer a psychiatric injury.  The court must determine whether the breach of duty was a necessary condition of the occurrence of that injury and whether it is appropriate for the scope of the liability of the person in breach to extend to the injury so caused.  The court must also determine whether her employment was the major contributing factor to the psychiatric injury to the plaintiff.  Finally the court must determine, if the breach of duty was, in the relevant sense, the cause of the injury to the plaintiff, the quantum of damages caused to the plaintiff by that injury.
  2. In order to determine whether the employer was liable for the injury suffered by the plaintiff it is necessary to consider all of the circumstances in which the plaintiff suffered injury.

The factual background

  1. T was a client of BYS.  As with all clients, employees of the defendant kept notes with regard to T and relevant dealings with her.  Those contemporaneous notes as well as other documentary evidence and oral evidence led at the trial will be considered in determining the circumstances of and leading up to the plaintiff’s injury.
  2. Oral evidence was led from the plaintiff and a number of other current or previous employees of the defendant: Angela Barnes, who was, relevantly, the executive manager of BYS from 2007 until January 2011 when she went on maternity leave and her position was taken on by Annemaree Callender (who did not give evidence); Belinda McFadyen, an experienced family support worker with BYS; Andrea Edwards, a social worker who worked for the defendant as an intensive support social worker in the Young Families Team from May 2010 but who no longer works for BYS; and Laura Christie, who commenced work with BYS in 2007 and has been a drug intervention worker since 2009.
  3. The role of the defendant, BYS, was to support young people between the ages of 12 and 25.  Its policy manual, of which Ms Beven was aware, set out that it works with young people who are socially and economically disadvantaged.  Those young people are likely to have left school early, have no or low income, be homeless, have family histories of abuse, have experiences of detention and mental illness, engage in high risk behaviours such as drug and alcohol use, and have poor access to health and other services.  BYS operated under various teams:  the administration team; the housing and homelessness team; the health team which included a drug intervention program; and the Young Families Team.  The Young Families Team had a number of different programs within it including Parents YES, Young Dads Program and the Family Support Program.  The Young Families Team’s role was to support and advocate for young parents who were homeless or at risk of homelessness. 
  4. Lindsay Beven commenced working with the defendant in 2007.  She was then aged 30.  She had studied a Bachelor of Arts (Psychology) at Charles Sturt University.  From 1999 to 2003 she worked as a residential care youth worker for Anglicare.  She worked as a youth worker with Chameleon Youth Housing between 2003 and 2007.  Ms Beven’s first role at BYS was a family support worker in the Family Support Program.  She was in fact the only person working in that program.  She was, according to evidence given by the psychiatrist Dr Chalk, who examined Ms Beven for the defendant, particularly suited to that work.
  5. On 28 April 2009, the employees of the Department of Communities (Child Safety Services) (DCCSS) drew up a case plan for T’s child.  At that stage T only had one child.  It noted that a Temporary Assessment Order had been granted in relation to T’s child as a result of the following circumstances.  Youth workers found the infant with blankets covering her head in her pram next to T’s bed.  A male person in the house smelled strongly of marijuana and T could not be woken.  It was noted that T had “a history of violence, self-harm, suicide attempts, instability and sexualised behaviours”.  It was noted, inter alia, that T had self-referred to BYS.  On the following day a Child Protection Order was made with regard to T’s child by a Magistrate until 28 April 2010.  The order required the chief executive to supervise the child’s protection for a year.
  6. Ms Christie’s evidence was that she would not have known all of the concerns about T when she first started to work with her but would have come to know of them as she worked with T and connected with the DCCSS.
  7. The first relevant note by an employee of BYS was made on 11 May 2009 where one of BYS’s employees, Susie Turner, who was the co-ordinator of the Young Families Team and working in the Supported Accommodation Assistance Program (or Parents YES program), made a note that she had spoken with a person from “Save the Children” letting her know that BYS was taking on T as a client.  The person from Save the Children informed Ms Turner of her concerns about T but said that T had stabilised a lot since moving to Department of Housing property.  Ms Turner said she would continue to speak with the person from Save the Children.
  8. On 4 May 2009, Ms Turner referred T to the Drug Intervention Program of BYS because her “previous/current use of speed [was] compromising the long term care of her child.”  She noted that T was pregnant, with the baby being due in July.
  9. Ms Turner visited T at T’s home on 19 May 2009 and “an ex-worker was there”.  At that time, T had been reunited with her young daughter since the Wednesday of the previous week.  She was also 30 weeks pregnant.  Ms Turner and T discussed her case plan and goals.  T reported that the issues that she had to address were mental health, drug use (speed), sexual abuse and attachment.  Her father had been incarcerated for sexual abuse and was due to be released in September.
  10. The next note on T’s file was made on the same date, 19 May 2009, by Laura Christie, an employee of BYS, whose role was funded by the National Illicit Drug Strategy.  She called T as she had received a referral to work with her on her illicit drug problems.
  11. On 15 June 2009, Ms Turner made a note after a visit with T that she was having “dreams about the baby (as he is a boy) and her Dad.”  T was becoming anxious about the birth of her son.  On 19 June 2009, Ms Turner reported that she took T to her midwife appointment and that T reported that she was feeling angry.  She reported that she had sexual dreams about her father in the past week and did not know how to feel about it.  Ms Turner reported that T continued to be very sexualised with most of her conversations and statements centring around her own sex life.
  12. On 24 June 2009, Ms Turner took T and her daughter to the Mater for T’s ultrasound to check on the size of her unborn son.  Ms Turner reported that “during my time spent with T her conversations are very sexualised.”  Ms Turner said she would continue to broach this with T.  On the same day Ms Christie reported that T said she was thinking about using drugs again.  Ms Christie noted “that a lot of our conversations this morning were about T’s sexual behaviour.”
  13. On 6 July 2009, Ms Turner noted that she saw T at home and that T had given her a picture she had drawn and a letter she had written for the purpose of letting Ms Turner know what had happened in her life and, in order for Ms Turner to understand how to help T, she had documented years of sexual abuse.  On the following day, 7 July 2009, T sent Ms Turner a message that T’s father, the perpetrator of her sexual abuse, had been released from jail and telling of T’s difficulties in dealing with that.  She was using drugs again.  On 10 July 2009, Ms Turner reported that she had good conversations with T with regard to her relationships and previous sexual abuse.
  14. T’s baby son was born on 16 July 2009.
  15. On 30 July 2009, Ms Turner reported that she had been receiving text messages from T disclosing that she had been having increased thoughts of self-harm.  On 4 August 2009, Ms Turner reported that she had been receiving numerous concerning messages from T about self-harm and her mental health.  Ms Turner reported that she had arranged to have a meeting with BYS’s manager, Ms Barnes, about T’s mental health and behaviour.  Then on 7 August 2009, Ms Turner reported that when they went shopping T attempted to buy Stanley knife blades which she reported was her “self-harm preference”.  Ms Turner did not allow her to buy them.  Ms Turner discussed with T the need to keep boundaries in the context of the text messages sent by T to Ms Turner.  T reported that she was not taking the antidepressant medication that had been prescribed for her.
  16. On 10 August 2009, both Ms Turner and Ms Christie visited T who was very “up and down”.  They discussed with her making a Domestic Violence Order (“DVO”) application with regard to her father.  On the following day, Ms Turner visited T at home to complete the DVO application about her father.  T wrote Ms Turner a letter about her confusion and mixed feelings about her sexual abuse history.
  17. On 14 August 2009, Ms Turner visited T.  After she left, Ms Turner received “distressing messages” from T.  She telephoned T who talked through her feelings and reported that she had used drugs on the preceding Wednesday night.
  18. On 17 August 2009, Ms Turner reported on two matters that made T become angry.  When Ms Turner took T shopping for day care needs for T’s daughter, T attempted to buy Stanley knife blades and Ms Turner told her that she would not allow her to purchase them when she was with her.  Ms Turner also reported “I also had to ask T to not touch me as she was continuously trying to make physical contact.”  Both of those instances had made T angry.
  19. Ms Barnes’ evidence was that she recalled Ms Turner saying that T made sexual remarks to her but she did not recall ever hearing that T made a sexual advance to Ms Turner.  Ms Barnes said that had she been aware of that, it would have been a “red flag” to talk to Ms Turner about referring T elsewhere.
  20. On 26 August 2009, Ms Turner took T to a psychiatric assessment as part of T’s criminal compensation claim.  The psychiatrist spoke with Ms Turner about her experience of T.  Ms Turner said she discussed only things T was aware that she would talk about: difficulty with sexual boundaries, self-harm and parenting.  After that they went grocery shopping and T made a deal with Ms Turner that she would not try to buy Stanley knife blades if Ms Turner took her to the DVD store.
  21. On 28 August 2009, Ms Turner went for a home visit to see T.  Since that contact, T had been messaging Ms Turner with “confused feelings about our working relationship”.  Ms Turner reported that she had been very clear and straightforward about boundaries and that their relationship was a working relationship.
  22. On 2 September 2009, Ms Turner reported that T had written a letter about how she was feeling, expressing a concern that she would “become like her father”.  Ms Turner took her to the doctor where T reported she had used speed in the morning.  On the following day, 3 September 2009, Ms Turner received a call from T who said she had self-harmed and was in the bathroom isolating herself from the children.  T said she was having a bad day and was coming down from having used speed the night before.  She said she did not need an ambulance as the cuts were only superficial.
  23. On the following day, 4 September 2009, Ms Turner went to T’s home to do their weekly at-home session on attachment.  She noted that T had been self-harming and would not talk much.  She gave T a notepad to draw on to distract her while they talked.  Ms Turner reported that she needed to address what T was writing and drawing and reinforce boundaries with her and Ms Turner’s role as having a working/professional relationship with her.  T started cutting herself under the table and Ms Turner reported that T said a couple of concerning things that made Ms Turner feel unsafe and concerned for the children.
  24. T was discussed from time to time at the regular weekly meetings of the Young Families Team.  According to Ms McFadyen, those usually in attendance at the meetings were herself, Ms Kaphle, Ms Turner, Ms Beven and occasionally Ms Barnes.  She recalled an occasion when Ms Turner had been to T’s house and reported that T had a fantasy about killing Ms Turner and then performing a sexual act on her dead body.  Ms McFadyen could not recall when that happened.
  25. On 8 September 2009, a decision was made by the team at BYS to notify the DCCSS due to T’s increasing drug use, mental health and self-harming behaviours.  The team discussed ceasing support to T altogether but Ms Barnes and Ms Turner decided to offer limited support to T.  Ms Turner reported that she and Debra Driscoll, another employee of BYS in the Parents YES program, went to T’s home to inform T of the notification documented in a letter to T.  T had “a bit of a tantrum” when Ms Turner said she and Ms Driscoll were leaving, went upstairs and, when she came downstairs, “slammed her blade on the table”.
  26. Later that day, Ms Turner reported:

“During the time that I was at T’s I should document that she had written threats towards my safety in her home.  Deb [Debra Driscoll] was also able to read this.  T later reported that this was not true and she only wrote it because she was angry!  I have informed T that such comments and threats are not OK and that I cannot ignore them.  I will no longer be providing intensive support in T’s home.  I will discuss a new model with her in the future.”

From this time, T was removed (or “exited”) from the Parents YES program.

  1. Ms Barnes said the decision to end the professional relationship of T with Ms Turner was because Ms Turner felt unsafe.
  2. On 9 September 2009, Ms Christie spoke to T about their next appointment.  T said she was worried about Ms Turner and concerned that she did not work with T any more.
  3. Ms Christie saw T on 11 September 2009.  She reported that she appeared to be affected by speed.  It appears that Ms Christie did not think that the appointment was useful.  Also on 11 September 2009, Ms Turner met with a number of people from other agencies at T’s home for a case handover meeting.  Ms Turner noted that T was “high” when she arrived.  She gave Ms Turner a letter she had written and a bracelet she had made.  They had a conversation about changes to the way they worked together due to threats to Ms Turner’s safety.  Ms Turner reported that the case handover did not go well. 
  4. On 14 September 2009, T sent Ms Turner a message to inform her that her children had been removed from her on Friday afternoon.
  5. T was next seen by Ms Christie on 16 September 2009 when Ms Christie picked her up to take her to a meeting at the DCCSS where she could see her children.  On the same day on her way home with Ms Christie, T sent a text to Ms Turner asking if she could come to see her.  Ms Turner told T that T could come to see her when her mental health plan was sorted out and let her know that she may need to catch the train to see Ms Turner at the BYS premises at Bowen Hills when the time came to commence sessions.
  6. Ms Christie said in evidence that T told her that she wanted a sexual relationship with Ms Turner.
  7. When Ms Christie next called on T on 23 September 2009, she did not answer the door and her phone was switched off.  Ms Christie was not able to see T until 25 September 2009 when they talked about the sort of drug support that BYS could offer.  Ms Christie then took some leave.
  8. T’s attempts to make inappropriate contact with Ms Turner continued.  On 5 October 2009, Ms Turner noted:

“T continued to ring the office phone all day today whilst I was in meetings.  I also received numerous text messages to my work mobile when I turned it on.  One of these messages was pornographic which I later discussed with T.  In addition she also sent me messages that were outlining that she wished to commence an inappropriate relationship and was having feelings for me.  I contacted T to discuss the messages received.  I let her know that it was not acceptable to send me these messages and made it clear that enough was enough.  T became angry saying she knows and doesn’t need to be told.”

Ms Turner arranged to commence therapy treatment with T starting in the following week.  She noted that T was angry that it was a week away.

  1. On 28 October 2009, Ms Turner and Helen Wright, an administration officer, made a note that T had attended a private counselling session drug affected and distressed about her own safety.  She said she had been on a drug binge for the six days leading up to her weekly appointment.  Ms Turner asked the administration officer, Ms Wright, to call an ambulance as T became increasingly agitated and drug affected and, by the time the ambulance came, she had self-harmed and was experiencing a full blown psychotic episode.  Ms McFadyen recalled an occasion when she was at a meeting at BYS where Ms Turner said that T had arrived at BYS and was self-harming.  The police and ambulance were called and she was taken to hospital.
  2. On 4 November 2009, Ms Christie saw T after Ms Christie returned from leave.  They had a conversation about her drug usage and psychotic episodes.  When Ms Christie saw her again on 6 November 2009 she noted that T “presented glassy eyed and said she had used the last couple of days.”  Ms Christie said that T got upset and frustrated when they spoke about the fact that she had not seen Ms Turner on Wednesday.  She reported that T said there was no point, nobody cared and she needed counselling “NOW”.  She asked Ms Christie to tell Ms Turner her reasons.  Ms Christie said that she would take her to her forthcoming appointment to see a doctor.
  3. At this time Ms Christie received a copy of a DCCSS case plan with regard to T’s baby son.  It referred to the concerns of the DCCSS that T’s mental health had been deteriorating over a period of months and she was regularly self-harming by cutting herself while the children were with her.  The report also expressed concern that T was substance misusing and was using ice and speed about twice a week and became more irritable, disengaged and depressed in response to her children when she was withdrawing.  Track marks had been observed on her arms.  It was reported that T admitted that she had been using hard substances such as heroin, cocaine and speed in recent weeks and that she used two to three times a fortnight.  A concern was noted that T could become quite volatile when confronted and if she had been using ice she might be quite violent.  It noted that the DCCSS was applying for a one year short term custody order for the children but that the overall goal was reunification of the children with their mother.
  4. On 11 November 2009, Ms Christie went with T to see the doctor.  She said that T appeared as though she was “coming down hard from a few days of continuous use.”  Ms Christie also reported that T made “inappropriate comments to me of a sexual nature.”  She said that she showed Ms Christie those by writing them down.  Ms Christie said that T got very upset when she challenged her on those and other comments that she was making.  It appears that T became very angry and made a number of inappropriate and abusive comments as well as storming off.  Ms Christie noted that she had “high concern regarding T’s current mental health state and her escalating drug use” and would follow up with “Ange [Ms Barnes] re where to from here.”
  5. On 18 November 2009, Ms Christie visited T at home.  T said she had not used any drugs for the past four days but Ms Christie noticed that her eyes appeared glassy and her pupils very dilated.  She reported that T focused on her goals and wanting to make the changes she needed to get her children back.  She had written down 10 goals and Ms Christie suggested that they explore them at their meeting with Ms Turner and the support worker from Save the Children on the following day.  In paragraph 4 of the goals T had written  the following:

“Hopefully continue work with Susie [Turner] whilst also finding accepting help from either a psychologist or psychiatrist to deal with finding better healthy ways to cope when things get tuff instead of self-harming and learn and do something about my borderline personality disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety and hopefully with Susie I can deal with my sexual abuse anger and voices especialy about the ones about stalking, drugging and raping women.  The worse thing is it would mainly blonds but dont worry Susie I promise I would never hurt you.  You are not on my list and never will be.”

  1. T also said that whenever she cared about someone she always thought of them in a very sexually inappropriate way.  Ms Christie said the theme of stalking came up a lot in her discussions with T but Ms Christie did not give it too much weight because she wanted to focus on the positives rather than on the negatives.  She also referred to the fact that this was the kind of matter that T would work through with psychologists rather than with someone who was working with her on her illicit drug problem.  She did report the conversations about T stalking people to Ms Barnes.
  2. On 19 November 2009, Ms Christie and Ms Turner made a note of a case co-ordination meeting that occurred at New Farm Park with T, Ms Christie, Ms Turner and the support worker from Save the Children.  T appeared to be drug affected and her behaviour deteriorated as the meeting progressed, in particular in talking about Ms Turner’s changed role with her and mental health support.  She expressed suicidal ideation and, concerned for her safety, Ms Turner rang for an ambulance.  T then ran away, police assisted in the search for her but she was not found.  At 6.00pm the employees decided they had done all they could do and went home.  T then made contact with Ms Turner and asked her to call off the police welfare check as she was keen to make contact with her children on the next day.
  3. In Ms Christie’s later dealings with T, on 26 November 2009, she said that T appeared to be drug affected, agitated and depressed.
  4. On 30 November 2009, Ms Turner made a note that from the afternoon of Friday 27 November and over the weekend T sent her very inappropriate text messages and picture messages which she received on Monday 30 November.  Ms Turner sent T a return message informing her that these messages were “are totally not OK to send to me” and that she had asked her before not to send such messages.
  5. Ms Christie had taken over the role of supervising T’s contact with her children.  On 30 November 2009, Ms Christie took T to see T’s GP who said there was no point in T using any medication for her mental health problems at the moment as the speed she was taking would counteract the medication.  This apparently annoyed T, who was drug affected.  Ms Christie observed T to be highly anxious when dealing with her children and that she expressed thoughts of suicidal ideation but assured Ms Christie that she would be present at a meeting at the DCCSS office at Alderley that afternoon.
  6. On 27 November 2009, the name of T’s new Senior Case Officer at the Alderley office of the DCCSS was noted by Ms Christie.  Ms Christie reported on what she referred to as a stakeholder’s meeting at the Alderley office of the DCCSS.  In attendance were employees from Acute Mental Health, Save the Children, DCCSS, including the Child Safety Officer and the team leader from DCCSS, and a worker from IFACSS, as well as Ms Christie.
  7. On 1 December 2009, Ms Turner made a note that T had called her very distressed.  Of particular concern was that T disclosed that she was prostituting herself to fund her drug use and that she was a “stalker” having someone’s home details and phone number.  She would not tell Ms Turner who she was stalking except to say that it was not her.
  8. The next report is of a court hearing at the Childrens Court on 3 December 2009 about whether and how T could see her children over the Christmas period.  Ms Christie provided support to T at the hearing and T was legally represented by Legal Aid.  Ms Christie informed the lawyer that BYS would not be able to supervise T’s contact over the Christmas period as they were closed then.  DCCSS would have to be responsible for that supervision.  After court T tried many times to contact Ms Turner despite the fact that Ms Turner had told her that Ms Christie was her support for the hearing.  T continued to call and text Ms Turner threatening self-harm.
  9. On 8 December 2009, Ms Christie attended on T to work through activities related to her drug usage.  She said that T presented highly agitated and her behaviour was sexualised and she wanted to “stalk, rape and drug.”  She appeared to Ms Christie to be talking about Ms Turner.  Ms Christie made her put away the blades and pornographic magazines that she had with her.  On the following day there was a Christmas celebration in New Farm Park where T appeared to be in good spirits.
  10. On 16 December 2009, Ms Christie took T to a psychologist who was prepared to offer her up to 36 sessions.  The first session appeared to go well.  As Ms Christie was not able to transport T to all her future sessions with the psychologist, she offered T travel fares for future sessions with the psychologist.
  11. On 23 December 2009, Ms Christie had organised to take T out for her birthday.  However when she arrived at T’s house, T was extremely depressed, anxious and “scattered”.  T showed Ms Christie a suicide note that she had written about how much she said Ms Turner had hurt her.  They went out as planned and T’s mood seemed to improve.  Ms Christie noted that T’s house was extremely messy and that she did not appear to be taking any care of it.
  12. On 24 December 2009, Ms Christie called T and sent her a text but got no response to either.  Due to her concern for T’s safety, Ms Christie contacted the Ferny Grove Police Station to organise a welfare check.  She informed the police officer of T’s talking about committing suicide.  The police conducted a welfare check and Ms Christie was satisfied that T was not a danger to herself. 
  13. After Christmas, on 5 January 2010, Ms Christie visited T’s house and took her to Centrelink.  She reported that T started to talk again about wanting to stalk workers, then denied that she would do it and then said that she would hire a private investigator.  T told Ms Christie that she wanted to bring the subject up with her because she did not want to do it.
  14. On the following day, 6 January 2010, Ms Christie received two suicidal messages from T.  In the last one she said goodbye and to look out for her kids.  She did not respond to a phone call from Ms Christie so Ms Christie again organised a welfare check from the Ferny Grove Police who had to force entry into the house.  Later the same afternoon T sent a text to Ms Christie saying that she would not kill herself that day but that did not mean she would not do it later “lol”.  Ms Christie informed the Ferny Grove Police who said that as they were forcing entry into T’s home, she returned home and they left.
  15. On the following day, 7 January 2010, T sent a text to Ms Christie saying that she wanted to see her but probably would not because Ms Christie did not care about her.  When Ms Christie called her, T said she was very depressed.  Ms Christie told T that if she had suicidal thoughts she had to call the Acute Care Team at the Royal Brisbane Hospital.  T spoke to Ms Christie about her fears of sexually abusing her daughter and this contributing to her drug use.  She talked about her own past and her own abuse contributing to her thoughts of sexual abuse and the conversation ended with T hanging up on Ms Christie.
  16. The next relevant interaction occurred on 19 January 2010 when Ms Christie took T to a doctor’s appointment and then lunch and then the psychologist’s appointment.  Towards the end of the day T became very angry and called Ms Christie a slut and a whore when Ms Christie did not have time to take her to Coles.  T spoke again about stalking and again mentioned that she had Ms Turner and Ms Christie followed one day going into a building on St Paul’s Terrace.  Ms Christie reminded her that she had previously said that this was not true.  She told T that if she continued to threaten to stalk the employees at BYS there might have to be police involvement.  By the end of the meeting, T said contradictory things such as not wanting to see Ms Christie for three weeks but on the other hand wanting to see her on the weekend.  Ms Christie finished by saying “Again, I keep reminding T of my role as a worker”.
  17. It appears that Ms Christie then referred T to another support group, Othila’s Young Women’s Housing and Support service (“Othila’s”), for ongoing generalist and practical support.  They had allocated a worker, Jodie Cowie, to work with T.  Ms Christie said that she would accompany T to meet Ms Cowie at Othila’s office and at the second appointment which would be at T’s home.  Ms Christie said she would be there for the first two appointments so that T would feel comfortable.
  18. The next relevant entry in the notes was made on 2 February 2010 when T called Ms Christie wanting to talk about her escalating drug use.  T said she had a man staying with her who supplied her with drugs in return for sex. 
  19. On 5 February 2010, Ms Christie arrived at T’s house to find her aggrieved and upset and she soon started talking gibberish.  T had a knife behind her back and produced a suicide note.  Ms Christie was concerned for her own safety as well as T’s safety.  She left the house and called the ambulance and maintained contact with T by phone.  T then ran away and the police caught up with her and she was taken to the Psychiatric Emergency Centre at the Royal Brisbane Hospital.  She was discharged and stayed the night with her mother.
  20. On 9 February 2010, T telephoned the centre for young families at BYS.  This is the area of BYS where Ms Turner worked and Ms Turner answered the telephone.  T reported that she visited the centre for young families even though there was no reason for her to be present there.  Ms Turner noted her concern. 
  21. On 10 February 2010, the first meeting took place at T’s house with Ms Cowie from Othila’s and Ms Christie.  The meeting did not go well and Ms Cowie left.  Ms Christie stayed and talked to her afterwards. 
  22. On 15 February 2010, Lynette Isaac, a Child Safety Officer with DCCSS made an affidavit in support of an application seeking to revoke the child protection order requiring the chief executive of the DCCSS to supervise protection of T’s child and to make another order in its place, namely a child protection order granting custody of both of T’s children to the chief executive for a period of one year.  That affidavit was provided to BYS.  That affidavit disclosed that on 7 January 2010 the Department of Housing reported to Ms Isaac that they were considering evicting T from her home due to events that transpired after a report from Ms Christie from BYS about a suicide message text to her.  In accordance with the safety plan agreed upon by T, Ms Christie had rung Queensland Police who went to T’s home and broke the door down.  The police did not find her there and returned a number of times to check on her welfare.  This was considered a breach of the peace and quiet enjoyed by the other tenants in the complex.  T explained to the officers from DCCSS that she had been using acid and had stayed at another address since the previous day because the person who she was with had been caught driving without a licence and therefore she needed to stay the night as he could not drive her home.
  23. T said that the previous occasions where the police had been at her residence had been on 24 December 2009, when she had said she would suicide and the police came around to check on her, and at the end of November 2009, when the police came and took her to hospital because she was threatening suicide.
  24. Ms Isaac reported on the difficulties T was observed to have looking after her children during supervised visits.  She also gave accounts of inappropriate sexual comments made by T to departmental officers.
  25. On 18 February 2010, T was involved in a case conference at the Children’s Court and agreed to a one year order with the aim of an extra day of contact with her children.  DCCSS did not have the capacity to facilitate the extra day due to lack of resources and staffing.  DCCSS were to start drug testing as she had to be abstinent from drug use to regain custody of her children.
  26. On 23 February 2010, Ms Christie took T to Othila’s for her formal intake into the service.  It did not go well.
  27. When Ms Christie took T shopping on 9 March 2010, T was very agitated and argumentative.  She tried to buy razor blades while they were at Woolworths and became angry and called Ms Christie some insulting names when she told T not to buy the razor blades.
  28. It appears that over the ensuing weeks T went to and from Toowoomba to make money as a sex worker, started using drugs again and allowed her father to “hang out in her home”.  Her case was transferred from the Alderley office to the Chermside office of the DCCSS.
  29. On 6 May 2010, Ms Christie reported that she saw T at home and that she was quite aggravated, upset and grumpy, and took many things that Ms Christie said the wrong way.  Her mood lifted when they went out with Ms Cowie for lunch.  Ms Christie continued to support T with strategies for detoxing from drugs and with her money problems.
  30. Then on 25 May 2010, Ms Christie made another home visit to T who was very agitated.  She started telling Ms Christie about sexually inappropriate dreams she had about Ms Christie.  While she was doing this T was holding a large pair of scissors and running the blade over her neck and violently stabbing the scissors into the table.  T eventually settled down.  T also said she still felt very hurt by Ms Turner.  Ms Christie’s evidence was that she would report incidents such as this to Ms Barnes.
  31. On 2 June 2010, Ms Christie spoke to T’s psychologist about the complexity of T’s psychiatric issues.  Ms Christie did not notice much shift in T’s thoughts about changing her drug use.  DCCSS were looking at increased and/or unsupervised contact for T with her children.
  32. Then over the following month Ms Christie thought T had reduced her drug use to once a week and then once a fortnight but noted T was not ready to commit to detox or drug rehabilitation.  Finally Ms Christie wrote a note on 27 July 2010 that in fact T had not reduced her drug use and had continued to use about three times a week.
  33. Ms Christie continued to support T with harm reduction strategies and she aimed to co-ordinate a meeting of key stakeholders: the psychologist, BYS, Othila’s and DCCSS.  She talked to T about the possibility of a referral to Centre for Young Families at BYS and Ms Christie noted that on 2 September 2010 she left a message for “Lindsey”, which is the first mention of the plaintiff in the BYS notes with regard to T.
  34. On 30 September 2010, Ms Christie noted that she had contacted Ms Beven with regard to support for T and that Ms Beven would support T during her contact time at DCCSS and assist with advocacy as well.  She was also to look at attachment issues and play.  Ms Bevan said she asked Ms Christie to write a formal referral.  Ms Christie told Ms Beven that the support that she was giving T with regard to parenting was outside her area of expertise.
  35. Ms Christie continued to try to give support to T with regard to her drug usage and to set up counselling support for T through mental health services and to get legal advice.  Ms Christie made an appointment for T to see lawyers who work with BYS but when she arrived on 13 October 2010 to pick her up for the appointment, T was still in bed and then became angry with Ms Christie and said that Ms Christie could “suck her cock”.  T continued to yell at her while she left the house.  Ms Christie continued to support T with regard to taking her to various appointments.  Ms Christie noted how changeable she was in her mood.
  36. During a weekly staff meeting at BYS on 14 October 2010, Ms Kaphle, an experienced and forthright member of the staff at BYS, told the staff of the Young Families Team that BYS needed to take on T and that this was “under the direction of Angela Barnes.”  Ms Kaphle brought up the risks of working with T and that they would need to have “strong boundaries.”
  37. Ms Barnes’ evidence was that she would not have insisted that a particular worker take on T as a client but that she “would have wholeheartedly supported the referral and encouraged the Families Team to retake this client on.”  She said that she would have said that the referral was an appropriate one and that the Young Families Team should look at picking it up and that “it was very clearly within our framework.”
  38. Even in a collaborative environment like BYS, it is relatively easy to see how this could have been construed as a direction.  When Ms Barnes gave evidence she expressed her opinion clearly and forcefully that she thought it was appropriate for the Young Families Team (ie Ms Beven) to take on T as a client.  She based that in part it seems because she was of the view that Ms Christie had not had the same problems as Ms Turner in working with T.  That was, at best, an inadequate conclusion to draw.  The problems which both Ms Turner and Ms Christie had individually with T had led them both separately to feel unsafe when working with T.
  39. Ms Edwards expressed the view that she did not feel comfortable about working with T; but Ms Kaphle said that someone needed to take her on and it was within the area covered by the Young Families Program operated by Ms Beven.  When she made a note some years later, Ms Edwards said that Ms Kaphle was against taking T on as a client and Ms Beven was in favour.  In cross-examination it became clear that her recall of the meeting was poor.  Her recollection was that no decision was made at the meeting.
  40. At, or as a result of the meeting, Ms Beven agreed to provide a Circle of Security program (a 10 week intervention) for T.  Ms Beven said words to the effect “If BYS won’t help her then who will”.  It was decided that the program would be provided in T’s home once a week rather that at BYS’s premises because Ms Turner still worked at BYS.
  41. Ms Beven agreed to work with T but she was not aware of all the difficulties experienced by employees of BYS and therefore of the danger posed by T.  The decision for BYS to continue to work with T was not in the end made by Ms Beven but by Ms Barnes who was ultimately responsible for that decision on behalf of BYS.
  42. Ms Christie told Ms Beven with regard to Ms Beven’s safety that Ms Christie had been receiving supervision from Jenny Kaighen and that Ms Kaighen had told Ms Christie that no worker should be working with T in her home due to concerns for the worker’s safety and that T should not have a case worker for that reason.  Ms Beven told Ms Kaphle and, as a result, a system was put in place whereby Ms Beven would ring in when she got to T’s house and make an additional phone call to Ms Kaphle when she departed.  Ms Beven’s visits also overlapped with the time when the DCCSS worker would bring T’s children to her house so that there was an additional person there.
  43. What Ms Beven did not know at the time of agreeing to take on T as a client was that T had handwritten an extensive document which she had given to Ms Christie where she wrote about her “sexual abuse anger and voices especially about the ones about stalking, drugging and raping women.”  She wrote that she always thought about people she met “in a very sexually inappropriate way.”  She listed as one of the short term negatives of using drugs was to “become a stalker”, “become a rapist.”  No one at BYS told Ms Beven that T had stalked other workers nor of this document and the material contained within it.  BYS however knew of this material and, together with the other information it had, of the risks involved in its employees working with T.
  44. Over two years later, Ms McFadyen was asked to recall what happened at the meeting held on 14 October 2010 and to make a note of what she recalled.  In that note she said that the discussions centred on what would be the best way to support T and her children.  Ms Christie had requested that Ms Beven support T with access and advocacy with Child Safety and also with the re-unification of her children back into her full-time care.  Ms McFadyen said that Ms Christie had told Ms Beven that she was feeling concerned that she did not have skills to advocate with child safety for access and re-unification.  Ms McFadyen said that Ms Beven suggested doing two types of therapeutic work with T and they were You Make the Difference and Circle of Security.
  45. The discussions went into T’s mental health and her very difficult behaviour in the past with other BYS workers in particular Ms Turner.  Ms Kaphle then suggested that they consider T’s severe mental health issues and her inability to respect professional relationships.  Ms Kaphle expressed her concern that there were some unsafe aspects to working with T and that they should reconsider working with her.
  46. Ms McFadyen said that Ms Beven then said that she felt confident to be able to support T in advocating with Child Safety and to work with her and her children.  Ms Fadyen said there was more said that she could not recall but she does remember that a decision was then made that Ms Beven would work with T.
  47. Ms McFadyen conceded that as Co-ordinator of the Young Families Team it was Ms Kaphle who made the decision as to whether or not to take on a client and that it was Ms Kaphle’s decision that Ms Beven would work with T.
  48. On 9 November 2010, Ms Christie noted that she supported T at a family group meeting at the Fortitude Valley Child Safety office.  Ms Christie noted that Ms Beven was to start YMTD [You Make the Difference] at Friday contacts and address attachment and parenting assistance, in particular T’s attachment to her son and discipline of her daughter.  In fact the program to be offered to T by Ms Beven was “Circle of Security” not “You Make the Difference”.  Ms Christie continued to support T with a minimal degree of success. 
  49. The first note by Ms Beven was made on 25 November 2010.  She reported that she met with T and Ms Christie to introduce herself and the service she was going to provide, which was 10 weeks of a program known as the Circle of Security prior to the children arriving for contact with T.  She let T know that she would come initially to meet the children and observe T’s attachment as T was concerned that there was no attachment between her and her one-year-old son.
  50. Ms Beven noted on 3 December 2010 that she was present at contact to observe T’s interaction with her children.  That took place at the Chermside office of the DCCSS.  The next notes by Ms Beven were on 10 and 17 December 2010 and 21 January 2011 where she noted family contact with T and her children in the presence of the DCCSS.
  51. Ms Christie in the meantime continued to support T particularly with regard to her parenting.  On 24 December 2010, Ms Christie made a note that she supported T to see her children for Christmas and her birthday.  T asked Ms Christie to pick up her children from the DCCSS office at Chermside for her.  Ms Christie noted that T was drug affected and appeared to find the children difficult to manage when she did not have support from another person.  Ms Christie had, by this time, “exited” T from the Drug Intervention Program.
  52. Ms Beven gave an account in her evidence of an incident that occurred at McDonalds at Brookside Shopping Centre at the end of a lunch time outing with T.  The others present were Ms Christie and Ms Cowie.  They were discussing who would be performing what role for T.  Ms Beven said that she saw T slide her hand down the back of Ms Christie’s jeans as Ms Christie got up from the table.  According to Ms Beven, Ms Christie was startled, moved away and gave T a dirty look.  Ms Beven said she reported the incident to her manager Ms Kaphle when she returned to BYS.  She said Ms Kaphle listened and seemed concerned.
  53. Ms Christie gave evidence that she often went to McDonalds with T.  She was not able to recall the incident related by Ms Beven and had not made a note of it.  Her evidence is that she would have made a note of it or have talked about it with another team member or her supervisor as there was a lot of work around T and her “challenging behaviours” and understanding of “boundaries”.
  54. Ms Christie said that T had not made a physical sexual advance on her in the two years she worked with her but would openly leave pornographic material in her house and would make sexualised comments to Ms Christie, such as “you look sexy” and once passed a note to Ms Christie that said, “You make me horny”.
  55. Ms Christie’s note of her meeting with T on 27 January 2011 records that T said her drug use had increased because she did not have custody of her children and that she was unable to cut back on her drug usage.  Ms Christie noted that she had organised a meeting between herself, Ms Cowie and Ms Beven for next Thursday to collaborate.
  56. On the following day, 28 January 2011, Ms Beven noted that T had cancelled her appointment for that day.  Ms Beven undertook a home visit to T on 3 February 2011 to explain the Circle of Security program.  She saw T alone for about an hour prior to employees of the DCCSS arriving with T’s children.
  57. During the regular Thursday meetings of the staff at BYS, they discussed the difficulties of working with T.
  58. On 7 February 2011, Ms Beven made a note that she had supported T at a family group meeting with the DCCSS office at Chermside.  The Department said that they wanted an additional year’s supervision order because T had not progressed to the point of having her two children back.  Ms Beven noted that she would do a 10-week Circle of Security program in T’s home on Fridays and would support T with advocacy with regard to the DCCSS and the Family Court but not as an intensive support worker.  T would continue to work with Ms Cowie from Othila’s on her day-to-day needs and with Ms Christie with regard to drugs and alcohol.
  59. On 10 February 2011, Ms Beven made a note of week one of the Circle of Security program.  She said T found the concept hard to grasp and implement once the children arrived.  T said she knew she was not ready to have the children home with her at present.
  60. Ms Christie continued to provide drug and alcohol support to T but noted on her visits that T appeared to be drug affected and as a result was short tempered and responding to workers’ comments in a rude manner.  When it was time to leave, T became upset with Ms Christie and Ms Cowie and said to them “fine then, fuckin go” and slammed the door as they were leaving.  Ms Christie undertook a number of home visits where T appeared to be drug affected and angry and unwilling to engage in any therapeutic intervention.
  61. Ms Christie’s oral evidence was that when she went to T’s house she could hear her inside, shouting and throwing things around.  She was using amphetamine and ice and Ms Christie felt that it was not safe for her to go into the house.  Ms Christie had just found out she was pregnant and decided to speak to Ms Kaighen about the situation with T.
  62. Ms Beven in the meantime undertook a home visit when the children were with T but was unable to contact T for a further home visit.
  63. Finally on 3 March 2011, the note by Ms Christie is as follows:

“Talked with Jenny Kaighen in external supervision about my recent experiences with T.  I explained the lack of progression and my professional feelings around T not being ready to address her drug use.  I also talked about my experiences of how T has been treating me over past few months when I have been attending home visits.  These experiences have included T being consistently verbally abusive towards me, T being unresponsive to any suggestions I have around making change to her drug use and T often appearing drug affected at our appts.  I have explained to Jenny that on the past 3 occasions I have started to feel unsafe both physically and emotionally and have had T heavily slamming doors and punching walls.  Jenny has recommended that I cease home visits as of now and should not be going out there by myself as I could potentially be unsafe especially considering her escalated drug use and mental health concerns.  I have called T to tell her (no answer, so I have left a voice message) that I will no longer be coming out to her house for visits.  I have told her that she can come and see me at BYS to do some transition work to link her in to Biala.  I have asked her to call me back if she needs clarification.  I have had no response as of yet.”

  1. Ms Beven made a note on 11 March 2011, that she had called T numerous times and left messages about her attempts to contact her on that day.  She waited for a long period of time but there was no communication.  Ms Beven also spoke to Ms Christie with regard to Ms Christie’s decision to cease case management and the impact on T.  When Ms Beven went to the Family Court on 14 March 2011 for T’s matter she discovered that T was there even though she had been excused.  Ms Beven told T that she had tried numerous times to contact her and T said that she had seen Ms Beven’s messages but did not feel like talking and just expected Ms Beven to pop around.  T’s Family Court matter was adjourned for two weeks.
  2. On 16 March 2011, Ms Christie noted that she had sent a letter to T outlining changes being made to the drug intervention support from BYS and clearly setting out why home visits would no longer be made available.  Ms Christie pointed out that T had become frustrated and angry during visits to her home and some of the anger had been directed towards Ms Christie.  Home visits would no longer be offered as it was not an appropriate environment for positive work.  Ms Christie also sent an email to DCCSS giving the same information and attaching a copy of the letter so that they were updated on what BYS was offering.  This led to T calling Ms Christie on 21 March 2011 apologising for her behaviour and saying that when she was stabilised on medication she wanted to work with Ms Christie again.  Ms Christie told her to come in to BYS in the morning when it was quieter.
  3. Meanwhile Ms Beven attended T’s home and completed week one of Circle of Security.  T talked about her childhood and Ms Beven redirected this to the question of parenting of her children.  Ms Beven stayed for a period of time after T’s children arrived.  Ms Beven then undertook a home visit on 25 March and attended at court with T on 28 March. 
  4. On 7 April 2011, T said that she was sick and so a family group meeting which had been organised had to be postponed and rescheduled for Tuesday of the following week.  However on the same day T did week two of the Circle of Security program with Ms Beven who noted that T was happy when her children arrived.
  5. On 8 April 2011, T called Ms Beven and cancelled her appointment for that day because she said she was sick.
  6. Ms Beven gave evidence that T was very loose in her behaviour, regularly making sexualised talk and advances.  She would explicitly ask Ms Beven if she had “been laid” or if she had “been fucked lately”.  She would invade Ms Beven’s personal space.  Ms Beven recalled a time when T opened her daughter’s legs and asked Ms Beven if she thought that T’s daughter was being sexually abused.  T discussed her own sexual conquests for the week and was quite explicit in her drug and alcohol use.  Ms Beven said this behaviour and these comments made her feel very uncomfortable and T was difficult to work with because of this.
  7. On 12 April 2011, Ms Beven attended a meeting at the Chermside office of the DCCSS with T.  Also present was T’s lawyer, T’s mother and her nephew in a pram.  Her child safety officer and the manager of the DCCSS office were present and there was a facilitator of the meeting.  Ms Beven was present to provide support for T with regard to the discussion of an upcoming order and advocate for T to have meaningful contact with her children.  The meeting took place around a rectangular table.  Ms Beven gave evidence that T was not in a positive frame of mind and the meeting was paused to allow her to have a smoke break to “level her head”.
  8. As the meeting continued, Ms Beven felt something brush her leg.  She assumed that it was an accident but then she experienced it again.  She looked down and saw T’s leg caressing Ms Beven’s leg very slowly.  T was smiling and continued to slide her foot up Ms Beven’s skirt and started caressing Ms Beven’s genitalia with her toes.  Ms Beven was wearing underwear but not stockings.  Ms Beven said that she felt frozen with fear but then moved her chair and tried to regain some professionalism and continued the meeting.
  9. Ms Beven gave evidence that T then moved her chair and once again, but this time more forcefully and quickly, put her foot up Ms Beven’s skirt reaching her underwear again.  She tried on a third occasion but she was unable to do it a third time.  Ms Beven told her to stop and T retorted “You just need a good fucking lay”.  The meeting was then adjourned by T’s lawyer.
  10. T was quite angry with Ms Beven and said again “You just need a good fucking lay”.  T said to Ms Beven “Next time I see you can you make sure your husband’s fucked you.”  After the meeting T asked Ms Beven to drive her home but Ms Beven refused and reported the incident by telephone to her manager Ms Kaphle.
  11. On 13 April 2011, Ms Beven wrote a note about the meeting at the DCCSS office at Chermside with T.  The note reads as follows:

“Meeting at [DCCSS] Chermside for a catchup meeting with Nancy, Helen, Fiona (lawyer), T, T’s mum Debbie and myself.  Helen is now doing home contact with T and the children and assisting in parenting skills.  T’s contact will be two 3 hour visits.  Reviewed in 8 weeks.  Incident occurred during the meeting with inappropriate sexualised comments and inappropriate touch.  Incident being followed up by BYS management.  [DCCSS] informed.  Decision made that T be exited from case management support.”

  1. BYS then determined to discontinue the program which had been offered to T and Ms Beven was instructed by Ms Kaphle to “exit” T from the program.
  2. Ms Beven then made notes on the following day that a letter had been sent to T, with a copy sent to the DCCSS, stating the reason why she was being exited from family support.  She also noted that she sent a message to T saying that she was cancelling the contact scheduled for that day as she needed to talk about what happened at the meeting on the previous day.  The letter set out the details of the incident and that T was no longer to receive intensive support from BYS in the following terms:

“I am writing this letter to inform you that I am exiting you from intensive support.  The reason why this decision has been made is due to the incident that occurred at the meeting review at The Dept of Communities Child Safety Services, Chermside Area Office on the 12th April 2011.

The details of the incident are as follows:

Whilst seated next to you at the meeting, you engaged in inappropriate physical contact with me by running your leg up against my leg in a slow and deliberate manner.  I pulled away and changed the positioning of my legs.  On each occasion, you further extended your leg and continued until I changed my chair direction.  You then made comments that I was ‘Mrs Grumpy’ and stated on two occasions, one being inside the room and one being outside the office that ‘You need a lay’ and ‘before I see you on Thursday, can you make sure you’ve been laid’.  This was stated in front of the lawyer, Fiona Fairbrother.”

  1. I accept that she did not specifically mention in that letter that T touched her genital region because she was trying to be diplomatic and professional rather than explicit.
  2. Ms Beven noted that she received a message back from T apologising for her behaviour.  The message was sent to the family co-ordinator at BYS.
  3. On 19 April 2011, Ms Beven made another note that she received an SMS from T apologising for her behaviour.
  4. Ms Beven took some holidays due to her and some further days off but returned to work doing the best she could until November 2011 when she was unable to continue working.  Her employer gave her ten sessions of counselling but it did not assist.  In November 2011, BYS realised that an incident report had not been filled in so it was done then.  The Incident Report shows that the incident was reported to Ms Kaphle on 12 April 2011.  In the Incident Report Ms Beven described the incident as follows:

“While seated at a meeting being held at Chermside Child Safety client under the table rubbed her leg and foot up and down my legs and the vicinity of my groin region, in a slow and deliberate manner.  Client also made sexualised comments ‘you need a lay’.  This behaviour occurred throughout the meeting and continued even after I had changed the position of my chair.”

  1. In a different handwriting under the heading “Prevention” and in answer to the subheading “Are you aware of any action that has been, or can be taken to prevent the incident/accident from happening again.  If so, please given details”, it was said “Yes, T was exited from the worker.  A letter was sent to [DCCSS] and client regarding the incident”.  And then under paragraph 8, “client not working with any program at BYS.”

Effect on the assault on Ms Beven

  1. Ms Beven married in 2000 and has three children.  She was active in indoor netball, as a player, umpire and then as manager for the Queensland team, the Australian men’s team and the under 21 Australian team.  She was contented and well with a happy, fulfilling life.
  2. Unfortunately since the sexual assault on her, and as a result of it, her health has markedly deteriorated and her marriage broke up due to her difficulty in maintaining a sexual relationship with her husband and the turmoil she was experiencing.  She has not been able to return to employment.
  3. The parties agreed that the court could act on the history given by the plaintiff to her treating psychiatrist, Dr Middleton, as set out in his report.
  4. That history shows that she was sexually abused as a child by an older cousin who made violent threats to her during the time of that abuse.  That cousin was subsequently convicted and imprisoned on two counts of manslaughter.  He was acquitted on his trial of the sexual offences alleged against him by Ms Beven.  She found the trial and verdict very traumatising.  Ms Beven was also sexually abused by three other men including her paternal grandfather.
  5. As a University student, Ms Beven had problems when she had to write an essay about sexual abuse and, as a result, received counselling.  She was involved in an abusive relationship as an adult and was hospitalised in a Mental Health Unit after the breakup of that relationship.  She then met and later married a man who was apparently charming and not violent.  She undertook psychological counselling which stopped in 2004, prior to the birth of her second child.  She had taken anti-depressant medication but ceased prior to the birth of her first child.
  6. In August 2010, Ms Beven’s general practitioner noted, when reviewing a problem with chronic regional pain syndrome in her foot, that she had long-standing intermittent depression and that she really should see a psychologist but was reluctant to do so.
  7. Subsequent to the incident at work, Ms Beven was hospitalised with a severe traumatic reaction to the sexual assault on her by T which also triggered post-traumatic stress from her childhood abuse.  She had recurrent hospitalisation since then in public and private hospitals.  She has self-harmed and been suicidal.
  8. Evidence was given by two psychiatrists, in the plaintiff’s case by Dr Eric de Leacy, and in the defendant’s case by Dr John Chalk.  Both psychiatrists met on 6 July 2015 and provided answers to three questions.  The first question was to ask them what findings and issues they agreed upon with respect to the psychiatric injury suffered by the plaintiff.  They answered, “Both experts agree on the severity of [Ms] Beven’s problems.  Both parties agree on the diagnosis – there are differences of emphasis rather than kind.”  In answer to a question as to what findings and issues they did not agree upon they said that they substantially agreed on all issues including the percentage of impairment.  They agreed that the total level of impairment (“PIRS”) was 23 per cent.  That reflects an impairment in the upper middle range for a serious mental disorder as set out in the tables attached in Schedule 9 of the Workers’ Compensation and Rehabilitation Regulation 2003 (Qld) (“WCRR”).  The third question asked why they disagreed and, given that they did not, their answer was that they found no substantial differences of opinions, having each read the large volume of documents provided and having discussed their findings during the court directed meeting of experts.  Accordingly it is not necessary for the court to make any findings about whose opinion to prefer.
  9. The diagnosis made by Dr de Leacy was that Ms Beven suffers from major depressive disorder, aggravation of PTSD (previously in remission), Cluster B personality traits (primarily borderline), hypertension, reflux, possible sleep disorder, occupational, social and recreational difficulties and poor functioning.  He expressed the view that her prognosis was poor.  He was of the opinion that the cause of Ms Beven’s problems was the assault in her workplace.  There was some pre-existing vulnerability but any prior psychiatric disturbance had “well and truly settled” prior to the assault.  She had worked successfully for seven years prior to the assault.
  10. Dr de Leacy said that although Ms Beven had a vulnerability and a re-activation of an earlier quiescent disorder in his view it was “quite clear” she was functioning well before the incident and that it was “not likely” that she would have developed her current psychiatric condition had this serious and disturbing incident not occurred.
  11. On 28 October 2015, Dr de Leacy provided an additional report in which he emphasised that this was a most serious case with serious impairment.  As to the question of whether a person of normal fortitude and no prior history would have suffered a psychiatric condition as a result of to the workplace sexual assault and how this was managed, his response was that the average person would have reacted with a sense of revulsion and abandonment and would be likely to develop a psychiatric condition as a result of the incident.  He expressed the opinion that the average person would have developed a disorder and the seriousness of the reaction would vary from individual to individual but the past history and pre-existing vulnerabilities of Ms Beven meant that her deterioration had been more serious and had led to serious permanent impairment.
  12. Dr de Leacy said that Ms Beven is seriously impaired and requires ongoing psychiatric care at the cost of approximately $260 a session.  She was being seen twice a week but this could taper to once a fortnight and then monthly but the level of care would be required indefinitely.
  13. Subsequent to that report, Ms Beven had an admission to Belmont Hospital where a similar pattern to her previous admissions was shown.  She was highly disturbed, disassociated frequently and expressed thoughts of suicidality.  Dr de Leacy referred to the fact that divorce proceedings were occurring but that the failure of the marriage was secondary to her severe mental illness that put an undue strain on the relationship.  Dr de Leacy expressed the view that she would need intensive care for at least 10 years and that it would be reasonable to say that for appropriate psychiatric care she required at least 50 sessions a year for at least 10 years.  The cost of each session is currently $260.  He said ideally she required psychological support in addition costing about $8,000 a year.  She also needed three medications which cost $30 per month and would require hospital admission from time to time at an average of once a year for 10 years.  The typical admission would cost $15,000.
  14. The psychiatrists saw no evidence of Ms Beven exaggerating her symptoms or response to what had occurred or giving an inaccurate account.  This is entirely consistent with her presentation in court which was quiet and careful.  She was a most impressive witness.
  15. The defendant submitted that the difference in her evidence as to what occurred at the McDonalds between T and Ms Christie and Ms Christie’s evidence means that all of Ms Beven’s evidence had to be treated carefully.  It may be that the incident happened as Ms Beven remembers it and it may be that it did not.  Given Ms Christie’s evidence, it is more likely that it did not.  However that is the only occasion where Ms Beven’s evidence was contradicted or unlikely to be correct.  It does not undermine the overall credibility of her otherwise reliable evidence.

Liability of the employer

  1. As to the risk posed by T that she would sexually assault or otherwise behave in an improperly sexualised way with an employee of BYS, there is such a plethora of evidence of incidents other than the incident alleged to have occurred at McDonalds which should have alerted the employer to that risk, that this incident does not add to or subtract from that risk.  Those incidents are set out in detail in the body of these reasons.  In summary, both Ms Turner and Ms Christie stopped working with T because they felt unsafe due to T’s sexualised and violent behaviour and threats.  Adding to the risk was the knowledge that T was continuing to use dangerous drugs such as ice which could cause her to become volatile and even more aggressive.
  2. This was not a case where the plaintiff suffered a psychiatric injury because of stress caused by stressful work which she had agreed to do as part of her contract of employment.  This is a case where she suffered a psychiatric injury as a result of a sexual assault which happened during the course of employment.  Her employment was the major significant contributing factor to her injury.
  3. The risk that T would sexually assault one of the employees of BYS was not inevitable but it was clearly foreseeable.  The risk could not be said to be insignificant and in those circumstances a reasonable person in the position of the employer should have taken precautions to avoid that risk (WCRA s 305B).  It was also clearly foreseeable that an employee would suffer psychiatric injury as a result of sexual assault.
  4. What should the employer have done to avoid that risk?  In this case, given the potentially serious consequences of that foreseeable risk eventuating, it should have declined to continue to offer further services to T.  The work of BYS is important and socially valuable but that social value does not displace its duty of care to its employees.  BYS was aware that it was risky to Ms Beven to see T at her house.  What the employer, however, failed to take account of was that when its employee saw T at her house on a regular basis, as was shown by her behaviour first to Ms Turner and then to Ms Christie, this led her to develop and express an unhealthy and unacceptable level of intimacy and sexualised behaviour towards that employee.  True it is that the sexual assault did not occur in T’s home, but the visits by Ms Beven to T’s home as part of her work for BYS created the relationship between T and Ms Beven which gave T the opportunity to take advantage of that relationship to engage in inappropriate sexualised behaviour towards Ms Beven, in this case a sexual assault.
  5. There is no policy reason why the employer should not be held liable or, to put it in the terms of s 305D(i)(b), it is appropriate in all of the circumstances for the scope of the liability of the employer, who was in breach of its duty, to extend to the injury caused by that breach.
  6. In summary, the respondent owed a duty to the plaintiff, it breached its duty, the breach of duty factually caused the plaintiff’s injury (WCRA s 305D(i)(a)).  It is appropriate for the scope of the liability of the employer to extend to the injury so caused (WCRA s 305D(i)(b)).

Assessment of damages

General damages

  1. The injury has had a devastating impact on all aspects of the plaintiff’s life.  General damages (or the adverse impact of the injury on the injured worker) are assessed according to an injury scale value (ISV) for the injury.  Section 306P(2) of WCRA and s 112E and Schedule 12 of WCRR provide how general damages are to be calculated.  Section 306O of WCRA and s 112D and Schedules 8 and 9 of WCRR set out the relevant rules for assessing the ISV.  The psychiatrists agreed that the relevant PIRS rating was 23 per cent. Schedule 9 provides that the relevant range of ISV for an injury with a PIRS rating which describes the injury as a serious mental disorder (ie one with a PIRS rating between 11 per cent and 30 per cent) is 11 to 40.
  2. Factors which affect the ISV are said in Part 2 of Schedule 9 to include:

PIRS rating

  • Degree of insight
  • Age and life expectancy
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of amenities of life
  • Likelihood difficulties would have emerged in any event
  • If there is extreme psychological trauma, for example, intense, helplessness or horror, the immediate adverse psychological reaction.”
  1. The PIRS rating is 23 (well within the upper half of the scale for serious mental disorder).  Ms Beven has an extremely high degree of insight into her illness and its devastating effect on the whole of her life – her professional life and her capacity to work, her personal life, including her most important relationships, those with her husband and children, her view of herself and her leisure and social activities.  She is still a relatively young woman having been born on 31 December 1976 and appears to face a lifetime of debilitating mental disorder.  She has lost pleasure in all of the activities which she used to enjoy, has lost her marriage and fears losing her children.  That latter fear is not without foundation.  Her oldest daughter has moved out to live with her father and Ms Beven’s regular and sometimes long periods of hospitalisation put her at risk of losing custody of the two younger children.
  2. The psychiatric evidence which I accept showed that she was vulnerable because of her history but that it was unlikely that she would have developed her current serious mental disorder without the sexual assault which was perpetrated on her.
  3. Accordingly I accept the submission made by her counsel that the ISV should be 35 which, under Schedule 12, s 1(g), gives a base amount of $53,000 and a variable amount of $12,950.  The general damages to be awarded are therefore $65,950.

Past special damages

  1. The parties agreed that the amount that should be allowed for past special damages was $314,930.10.  The interest payable on that is $354.

Future special damages

  1. So far as Ms Beven’s future special damages are concerned, they will be assessed using figures taken from Dr de Leacy’s report of 18 November 2015 (adjusted for their present value).  They are agreed between the parties as:

(1)$103,225 for attendance on a psychiatrist for the next 10 years;

(2)$33,227 for attendance on a psychiatrist following the first 10 years;

(3)$63,523 for attendance on a psychologist

(4)$8,741 for medication

(5)$119,105.13 for future hospitalisation.

Past economic loss

  1. I accept the plaintiff’s calculation of past economic loss at $251,037.15 and of interest on that of $7,282 and past loss of superannuation entitlements of $15,788.

Future economic loss

  1. The parties agreed on the total figure for future economic loss but disagreed on the discount that should be allowed for the prospect that Ms Beven may have ceased earning an income because of factors including as her increased vulnerability even if she had not been sexually assaulted.  Some discount should be allowed.  In my view it should fall half way between the 20 per cent suggested by the plaintiff and the 40 per cent suggested by the defendant.  The figure that should be allowed is $711,595.57.
  2. Loss of future superannuation entitlements is calculated at 11 per cent of that figure.
Summary of quantum 
General damages$     65,950.00
Past Special Damages$   314,930.10
Interest on past special damages$          354.00
Future special damages$   327,821.13
Past economic loss$   251,037.15
Interest on past economic loss$       7,282.00
Past loss of superannuation entitlements$     15,788.00
Future economic loss$   711,595.57
Future loss of superannuation entitlements$     78,275.51
 $1,773,033.46
Less WorkCover refund$   264,394.11
TOTAL$1,508,639.35

Conclusion

  1. The defendant is liable in negligence for the plaintiff’s injury.  She should be awarded $1,508,639.35 in damages.  WorkCover is to pay the plaintiff’s standard costs from 5 May 2014.

Footnotes

[1] (1956) 96 CLR 18 at 25.

[2] (1986) 160 CLR 301 at 308.

[3] (1954) 100 CLR 225 at 230.

[4] (1986) 160 CLR 301 at 314.

[5] (2005) 222 CLR 44 at 53 [21].

[6] [2002] 2 All ER 1.

[7] [2002] 2 All ER 1 at 13 [23].

[8] [2004] 2 All ER 385 at 398; [2004] 1 WLR 1089 at 1101 [35].

[9] (2002) 211 CLR 317 at 332-333 [16], 343-344 [61]-[62], and 385 [201]; see also Gifford v Strang Patrick (2003) 214 CLR 269.

[10] (2005) 222 CLR 44 at 57 [33].

[11](1980) 146 CLR 40.

[12] (1980) 146 CLR 40 at 47 [13].

[13] (1980) 146 CLR 40 at 48 [14].

[14] This Act has since been superseded by the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (Qld), but the relevant provisions of the latter did not commence operation until after the incident with which this case is concerned.

[15] WCRA s 32.

Close

Editorial Notes

  • Published Case Name:

    Beven v Brisbane Youth Service Inc

  • Shortened Case Name:

    Beven v Brisbane Youth Service Inc

  • MNC:

    [2016] QSC 163

  • Court:

    QSC

  • Judge(s):

    Atkinson J

  • Date:

    28 Jul 2016

  • White Star Case:

    Yes

Litigation History

EventCitation or FileDateNotes
Primary Judgment[2016] QSC 16328 Jul 2016Judgment for the plaintiff in the amount of $1,508,639.35: Atkinson J.
Notice of Appeal FiledFile Number: Appeal 8547/1623 Aug 2016-
Appeal Determined (QCA)[2017] QCA 211 [2018] 2 Qd R 29122 Sep 2017Appeal dismissed: Sofronoff P and Gotterson JA (McMurdo JA dissenting).
Special Leave Refused (HCA)[2018] HCATrans 7220 Apr 2018Special leave refused: Kiefel CJ, Gordon and Edelman JJ.

Appeal Status

Appeal Determined - Special Leave Refused (HCA)

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