Page last updated at 15:11 GMT, Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Judges block horse injury claim

Appleby Horse fair
The horse fair regularly attracts more than 40,000 visitors.

A County Durham man left with brain damage after being kicked by a horse at a Cumbrian fair, has been blocked from claiming compensation.

Geoffrey Glaister, 49, from Peterlee, was kicked by the runaway animal at the 2004 Appleby Horse fair.

Earlier this year a county court ruled his family could seek compensation from Appleby Town Council.

But Appeal Court judges have overruled the decision, after agreeing the council did not owe a duty of care.

The court heard Mr Glaister, described as a "selfless dad", tried to grab hold of the untethered horse's rein because he feared it posed a risk to his wife and daughter.

'Public spirited'

But he suffered "catastrophic" injuries when the horse kicked him as he bent down, leaving him with permanent disabilities and "greatly reduced earning power".

In March, he was awarded the right to seek compensation by a Middlesbrough County Court judge, who said the town council had negligently failed to arrange public liability insurance for the event.

But Appeal Court judge Lord Justice Toulson, said the county court decision was "wrong in law" and the town council owed no duty of care to ensure the safe segregation and supervision of horses, or to arrange public liability insurance for the event.

Sitting with Lord Neuberger, and Lord Justice Jacob, he agreed Mr Glaister had acted in a "selfless and public spirited way".

But he said the town council was not the occupier of the land in question and did not have direct control over the way the horse fair was run.

The court heard the town council owns only some of the land used in the event, but not the area where Mr Glaister was injured.

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