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Policewoman Wins Compo Court Bid

Discussion in 'News, Politics & Debates' started by Roerich, Sep 2, 2006.

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  1. Roerich

    Roerich M.D.

    Policewoman wins compo court bid

    By Lisa Allan
    September 01, 2006
    A SYDNEY police officer who suffered post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after a violent armed robbery has won the right to have her case heard by the High Court.

    Gemma Fahy developed PTSD after she attended the scene of an August 1999 robbery in which a video store manager was stabbed at Edensor Park, in Sydney's south-west.

    The victim managed to make it to a nearby doctor's surgery and Ms Fahy helped the doctor treat the man.

    Ms Fahy successfully sued the NSW government in February 2005, with a District Court judge ruling two fellow police officers had been negligent.

    One, a senior constable, had failed to help Ms Fahy attend to the victim at the scene and the other, an inspector, had insensitively treated Ms Fahy.

    Judge Geoffrey Graham also ruled the NSW government had been negligent in failing to provide Ms Fahy with appropriate counselling and support following the robbery.

    But in April this year, the NSW Court of Appeal upheld a state government challenge to the decision.

    A majority of justices in that court held that the primary cause of Ms Fahy's PTSD was her exposure to the victim in the doctor's surgery, while her attendance at the scene of the armed robbery had been a contributing factor.

    All justices agreed Ms Fahy's failure to take her prescription anti-depressant medication contributed to her condition and her compensation should be appropriately reduced.

    But in the High Court today, Chief Justice Murray Gleeson and Justice Ian Callinan granted Ms Fahy leave to appeal against the decision.

    The appeal will challenge whether it was reasonably foreseeable that Ms Fahy was at risk of psychiatric injury merely because of the absence of the other police officer.

    The appeal will go before the High Court at a date to be set.
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