Justice McMeekin ruled the amount of serious injuries suffered at Lake Wabby meant the government should have done more to warn of the dangers specific to that spot.
Justice McMeekin ruled the amount of serious injuries suffered at Lake Wabby meant the government should have done more to warn of the dangers specific to that spot. Susie Dahl

Govt to argue two warning signs at Lake Wabby were enough

RUNNING down a sand dune at Lake Wabby was a "dangerous recreational activity" and two danger signs on the walking track were sufficient warning, the Queensland Government will argue in the Court of Appeal.

The government has lodged an appeal to reject or reduce the damages a Rockhampton justice awarded to an Irish tourist who broke his neck at the Fraser Island site in September, 2007.

Evan Joseph Kelly sued the government after he lost his footing running into the water from the sand dunes at Lake Wabby and fell head-first.

This left Mr Kelly a tetraplegic and Justice Duncan McMeekin found the State Government breached its duty of care in not providing better warnings about dangers inherent to the lake.

Despite two signs warning visitors not to run on the dunes or dive into the water, he decided the government had not done enough to avoid legal responsibility for the incident.

Justice McMeekin said there had been 18 incidents at the lake over 17 years.

In documents listing grounds to appeal the judgment, the Queensland Government argued the justice erred in finding the risk of serious injury was not an "obvious risk" and that two danger signs erected on the walking track to the lake did not effectively communicate the activity's inherent risk.

Justice McMeekin had award damages for contributory negligence at 85% of the financial damages incurred but the Queensland Government, if it cannot have the judgment overturned, will argue the damages should be reduced to 65%.

A hearing date for the appeal has not been set.



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