I’d like to draw your attention to The NDL’s diluted story, “Granny liable for injuries” (May 30, page 11).
The story briefly stated that a Sydney grandmother, sued by her own family after falling downstairs while carrying her baby granddaughter, had been found legally liable for the girl’s head injuries.
The NDL could have chosen to print the story in its entirety from its sister newspaper The Sydney Morning Herald as reported on the same day.
Whilst that article also had an equally hyperbolic headline to grab the reader’s attention, the Herald did go on to correctly report the full details.
Should your paper have elected to present readers with the detailed story, your readers would have been more informed.
I find it disappointing The NDL choose to print this small grab implying perhaps that, in our more litigious society, the parents of the baby – namely Susan Hoffmann and Jason Boland – were suing Ms Hoffmann’s own mother, Reverend Hannalore Hoffmann.
One could read into your brief report that it is disgraceful that Ms Hoffmann was suing her own mother.
In fact, the system requires that the significant healthcare needs of the baby girl Molly must be financially met and, like most householders, Reverend Hoffmann would obviously have household liability insurance, which would assist with accidents of this magnitude.
She was, in fact, represented by the insurance lawyers Moray and Agnew.
The NSW Supreme Court’s Justice Robert Shallcross Hulme found that the grandmother, Reverend Hoffmann, was at the time in question attempting to be careful, but had not exercised reasonable care when she carried baby Molly down a flight of stairs in the dark at 5.30am in January 2006, after the child had woken and would not settle.
Reverend Hoffmann had not turned on the lights so as not to disturb other sleeping family members.
Molly was left with traumatic head injuries, leaving the little girl severely disabled, with undoubtedly high financial needs over her lifetime.
I find this whole case terribly sad. This family was apparently away on a holiday together at Smiths Lake near Forster when the entire family experienced their worst nightmare while a grandmother was endeavouring to do the right thing, in that moment, before it all went horribly wrong.
I believe The NDL had the responsibility to their valued readers to report nothing or report the full story in its entirety, otherwise your readers could incorrectly glean from your brief report that the country is going down a terrible, litigious path when a daughter can just sue her own mother for the money.
It was for the money – the insurance company’s money; it was to help a family to raise a disabled daughter with undoubtedly extensive needs.
That is what your household liability insurance is designed for.