This case is one which concerns duty of care issues that may
arise when a golfer is injured when he/she is struck by a stray
The appellant, Dr Pollard, was injured when he was struck by a
golf ball driven by the respondent, Mr Trude, as they and two other
men played a round in a club competition. Dr Pollard sustained
substantial injury to his right eye, which left him with partial
loss of vision.
Dr Pollard alleged that Mr Trude breached a duty of care by
failing to warn Dr Pollard that he was about to hit his ball; and
by failing to shout "Fore", as opposed to shouting
"Watch out", once it was apparent that the ball was
heading towards Dr Pollard.
At first instance, Chesterman J found that Dr Pollard failed to
establish liability and entered judgment for Mr Trude, holding that
Mr Trude was not negligent in not warning Dr Pollard before
taking his shot; and that there was no relevant difference between
a warning of "Fore" and a warning of "Watch
Importantly reference was made to ss 13 and 15 of the Queensland
Civil Liability Act 2003. His Honour found that the risk in this
case, of Dr Pollard's being struck by Mr Trude's ball,
although small, was an obvious one.
Dr Pollard appealed to the Queensland Court of Appeal. The
appeal was heard by McMurdo P, Holmes JA and White AJA who, in
essence, agreed that the trial judge was correct to conclude
In the circumstances of this case, where there was no common
practice of giving a warning prior to taking a stroke, where
Dr Pollard knew that Mr Trude was about to take his stroke and
where Dr Pollard appeared to be taking cover behind a tree, the
respondent's failure to give a warning prior to taking his shot
was not negligent; and
there was no relevant difference between a warning of
"Fore" and a warning of "Watch out", and that
the respondent was not negligent by shouting "Watch out"
after taking his stroke. In addition, the plaintiff's reaction
would not have been different had a call of "Fore" been
The appeal was unanimously dismissed with costs.
In the June 2005 edition of the Deacons Insurance
Update, we reported on the decision of the High Court when it
considered Shanahan & Anor v Ollier . This is
also a case of a social golfer who was seriously injured after
being struck by a golf ball.
Pollard however, differs from this case in that Mr Trude did not
hit the ball in ignorance of the fact that Dr Pollard was in front
This decision shows the importance of the factor of obvious risk
and personal responsibility in the liability context.
Pollard v Trude  QCA 421
Pollard v Trude  QSC 119
Shanahan & Anor v Ollier  HCATrans 169
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The failure of a party to call a witness does not necessarily give rise to an adverse inference being drawn in accordance with Jones v Dunkel (1959) 101 CLR 298. An unfavourable inference is drawn only if evidence otherwise provides a basis on which that unfavourable inference can be drawn.
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