Court’s ‘crazy’ $4.6m payout

THE operators of Green Valley Farm have hit out at “legislation gone crazy” and vowed to keep the business open after a patron was last week awarded $4.6 million damages for a freak accident at the park.

The ACT Supreme Court on Friday ruled the Vickery family, which operates Green Valley Farm in Tingha, failed in its duty of care to Benjamin Ackland leading up to an accident at the venue in 2009 that left him a quadriplegic.

Mr Ackland attempted a number of back somersaults on the “jumping pillow” ride and landed awkwardly, breaking his neck.

On its official Facebook page, Brayden Vickery – grandson of the founder of Green Valley Farm – posted an emotion-charged missive defending the amusement park’s role in the accident.

“All I can say is this man and the group which he was a part of had consumed enough alcohol to effectively negate their co-ordination and as such were asked to leave the park and not use any equipment,” Mr Vickery said. 

“Against our better judgement we allowed them to stay to cook lunch under the condition that they were prohibited from using our equipment and they left immediately following their lunch.”

The park’s insurance company is liable for the payout and has 28 days from the ruling to appeal.

Mr Vickery said the court’s decision was symptomatic of a society where the concept of personal responsibility was diminishing.

“We need to take a stand against a trend in society which is leading toward every decision we make being dictated by legislations and bubble wrap,” Mr Vickery said. 

“I grew up falling over and grazing my knees. I got back up, kicked the damn rock I tripped on and then told myself to start watching where I was going. And needless to say, I gradually began to fall over less and less.”

He said he was sympathetic to Mr Ackland’s plight.

“I personally cannot begin to describe the sympathy which I feel for the person in question,” he said.

“I think it is safe to say he didn’t get off that bus with the intention of becoming quadriplegic.”

He added Green Valley Farm was “still going strong and isn’t going anywhere”.

While the Vickerys would not speak to The Leader about the issue, Mr Vickery’s post received hundreds of “likes” from supportive locals.

Graham Meonly summed up the views of many when he posted: “This is the world we live in. It’s always someone else’s fault.”

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