Page last updated at 19:34 GMT, Thursday, 29 October 2009

Council sued over student's fall

A man seriously injured after a fall during a night out when he was a student is suing a council for damages.

Jonathan Harvey, now 27, plunged 20ft (6m) to the concrete car park of a Tesco store in his hometown of Plymouth in the early hours of 18 April 2003.

He has told the High Court in London that Plymouth City Council failed to maintain a fence over which he fell.

The city council says that Mr Harvey, who it claims had drunk eight pints of beer, was at fault.

The court heard that Southampton University student Mr Harvey, who was originally from Tamerton Foliot, Plymouth, had returned to his hometown and was with friends on a night out.

Bleeding on brain

They had been dropped off by a taxi near the Woolwell branch of Tesco in the city.

But before the fare was paid, Mr Harvey and one of his friends ran to make another member of their group pay.

They headed towards bushes on the land where Mr Harvey fell into the car park, it was heard.

He spent eight months in hospital following the incident and now has difficulty walking and talking because of bleeding on the brain, the court was told.

His lawyers say that the city council is liable because it owned the land from which Mr Harvey fell.

They also say there was a gap in the plants leading to the drop and a fence was in a state of disrepair.

Stephen Killalea QC, for Mr Harvey, said that since the accident, warning signs had been put in place, the fence had been repaired and plants had been grown around the drop.

The city council has said it was "inherently unlikely" that he tripped over the fence, the car park was well lit and he was a trespasser on council land.

The case continues.

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