State Government may appeal Lake Wabby damages decision

THE State Government is considering appealing a decision by the Supreme Court which held it liable for damages for an Irish tourist who was paralysed in an accident at Fraser Island.

Evan Joseph Kelly sued the government after trying to run into the water from the sand dune at Lake Wabby in September 2007, when he lost his footing in the sand and fell head-first.

This left Mr Kelly as a tetraplegic and Justice Duncan McMeekin held that the State Government breached its duty of care by not providing better warnings of the dangers inherent to Lake Wabby.

On Friday, Clive Cook, the acting deputy-director general of Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service confirmed an appeal against the decision could be launched.

"The state is examining the judgment and considering its options, one of which may be an appeal," Mr Cook said.

Mr Cook said warning signage around Lake Wabby had been changed since the accident, with new departmental standards requiring a change in the signs in 2009.

He said he could not comment on whether the decision by Justice McMeekin would lead to any further changes in policy for warning signs at Lake Wabby or at Queensland national parks in general.

Mr Cook confirmed the amount of the damages the government would be liable to pay was unknown at this time, with both parties having until May 7 to make further submissions.

"Given that the state is considering its position with respect to an appeal, it is inappropriate to comment further at this time," he concluded.

Mr Kelly's lawyers from Murphy Schmidt Solicitors in Brisbane did not provide a response after two days of repeated phone calls.


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