It is alleged that on the 22nd day of January in the year of 2018, singer Mozey Radio was called by a friend of his,a one Pamela to join her at De Bar in Entebbe for a drink.
The singer came to the bar and they started drinking. It is further alleged that at around 9 pm, Moses got drunk and started getting rowdy. He started insulting a one George Egesa, the bar owner, saying that he was broke and couldn’t afford to buy him a bottle of Johnnie Walker black label.
Egesa reportedly ordered a waitress to bring Radio a bottle of black label. However, Radio opened the bottle and instead started pouring the contents on the floor and on patrons seated around the table. It is alleged that he went ahead to insult Egesa and friends. This prompted Egesa to order Pamela and Radio out of the bar. A few minutes later, there happens a fight outside De Bar in which the bouncer of the bar lifted the singer up and banged him down.
He reportedly fell and hit his head on the ground. As a result, he sustained injuries on his neck. He was rushed to hospital where he has since met his death.
What are the legal issues behind this?
Is the owner of the club liable for the death of Moses?
Are the bouncer’s acts closely connected to the death of Moses Radio?
Are there any defences available to the owner and the bouncer?
Alternatively, can the family of Radio successfully institute death as a cause of action against De Bar?
What is the principle in Matti’s v Pollock?
Mattis v Pollock is an English case that was decided by the Court of Appeal of England in 2003.
The case establishes a principle that an employer maybe vicariously liable for the assault and battery of his employee that are closely linked to the duties of the employee.
The facts of the case are that, Mr. Cranston was employed as a bouncer at the Flamingos club to keep order at the club and to break scuffles and fights. One day an incident occurred involving a customer. The bouncer had thrown a friend of his across the room. It was submitted that the owner of the club had instructed the bouncer to use physical force to ensure compliance with the instructions that he would give the customer.
The bouncer was instructed that the customer should be barred from the club and he was ejected. Later, at 1 am the customer returned with a friend and on seiing them, the bouncer grabbed Mr. Matti’s and stabbed him in the back.
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The court of Appeal observed that the stabbing of Mr. Matti’s represented the unfortunate and virtual culmination of the unpleasant incident which had started within the club and could not fairly and justly be treated in isolation from other events or as a separate and distinct incident.
That at the moment when Mr. Mattis was stabbed,the responsibility of Mr. Pollock for the actions of his aggressive doorman was not extinguished. Vicarious liability was there fore established.
Court further observed that the stabbing by the bouncer was closely connected to his work and instruction. ( This is called the close connection test for establishing liability in tort law)
Judgement: The owner of the club was held vicariously liable for the assault and battery of the bouncer, since he had given him instructions to observe order in the club and to use physical force to ensure this order.
That there was sufficiently a close connection between the assault and battery of the bouncer and the work he was employed to do.
How is the principle in this case relevant to the case of Moses Radio?
Moses Radio is the customer in this case,he causes a conflict in the bar by pouring on the ground the contents of Johnnie Walker that was bought by the owner. The owner, furiating,orders Radio out of the club. The bouncer, while carrying out his usual duty of ensuring order in the club, physically assaults Radio and as a result Radio sustains injuries which have since led to his death.
This is proof by res IPSA loquitur. The facts speak for themselves. The owner of the club is therefore vicariously liable for the assaults of the bouncer.
The bouncer is personally liable for his own acts,both criminally and tortuously.
So what next, can the family sue for death as a cause of action.
We are looking at that next.
FOR THOSE WHO WANDERED WHY OWNER OF THE HAS LIABILITY OVER DEATH OF MOZEY RADIO.