The parents of murdered water polo coach Lilie James want to sue St Andrew’s Cathedral Faculty for gross negligence and a breach in its obligation of care to her as an worker however office lawyers are sceptical they are going to be profitable.
Ms James, 21, was killed by colleague and former boyfriend Paul Thijssen in a toilet of the elite non-public faculty on October 25 whereas the pair was on the campus after hours returning sports activities tools from an earlier coaching session.
In accordance with The Each day Telegraph, Jamie and Peta James are looking for authorized recommendation about pursuing the varsity for compensation, and to ascertain how Thijssen was in a position to kill their daughter inside the varsity with out anybody listening to or seeing it.
It’s understood a major a part of the James’ authorized motion will centre across the lack of evening time safety.
“There’s a variety of anger there and a variety of unanswered questions for Jamie and Peta,” an in depth family good friend instructed the publication.
“They, like the remainder of us, need to understand how this was in a position to occur inside a college of all locations… (The varsity) had an obligation of care to guard Lilie as an worker.”
Police consider the homicide of Lilie James was premeditated and calculated, not an impulsive act.
Thijssen armed himself with two hammers, one in every of which can have come from a college retailer room.
A detailed good friend of Dutch-born Thijssen mentioned it was the position of the previous St Andrew’s pupil turned sports activities division employee to gather, catalogue and put away sports activities tools after coaching, when the varsity’s many groups returned to the high-rise CBD campus after follow.
However employment legislation specialist Chris McArdle instructed information.com.au he believed the household had “little or no case”.
He mentioned the take a look at can be whether or not it was “foreseeable and affordable”.
“Below the Occupational Well being and Security Act, the employer has an obligation to make sure so far as fairly sensible the protection of individuals at work,” he mentioned.
“Given she was in the middle of work, the duty of the employer was to offer a protected place to work ‘so far as fairly practicable’”
“Was it fairly sensible for the employer to make sure security within the office at the moment?”
He mentioned ‘fairly’ was solely inserted into the Act in 2011, making it a lot more durable to prosecute circumstances.
Mr McArdle concluded it might have been tough for the varsity to stop the tragedy.
“This was home violence,” he mentioned. “This lady wouldn’t exit with him. He was a spurned suitor.”
Mr McArdle mentioned the query was: Would an inexpensive particular person assume another safety in place apart from swipe playing cards might have prevented the tragedy?
Comparisons to Stephanie Scott homicide
In 2021, the household of Stephanie Scott efficiently sued the NSW Training Division after the beloved instructor was murdered at Leeton Excessive Faculty within the Riverina when she went to arrange classes forward of taking depart for her upcoming wedding ceremony on a weekend in April 2015.
Faculty cleaner Vincent Stanford was arrested 4 days later and Ms Scott’s burnt physique was discovered by police within the Cocoparra Nationwide Park, about 70km from Leeton, 5 days after her disappearance.
Whereas particulars of the settlement stay confidential the household hoped it might result in change with extra stringent screening procedures for workers at public establishments.
The lawyer who represented the Scott household, John Potter, instructed information.com.au the 2 circumstances had been markedly completely different.
“There was no indications that Paul Thijssen has a historical past of violent behaviour of which the varsity would have been conscious,” he mentioned.
“In reality the obtainable proof is on the contrary. It seems clear that this was a random act of violence by an individual with no prior historical past.
“That’s the place this case differs considerably from the Scott case as in that case the perpetrator did have a historical past of each violence and unusual behaviour.”
Mr Potter mentioned the one treatment the household of Lilie James would have can be the demise profit beneath the Employees Compensation Act.
The Act gives compensation for the dependants, or property, of a employee who dies on account of a office harm or sickness.
Thijssen was a former prefect and sports activities captain of St Andrew’s Cathedral faculty.
Former St Andrew’s Cathedral Faculty principal, John Collier described him as “an absolute delight” and “a effective pupil” in a much-maligned publication this month to college students at his present faculty Shore.
“What’s chilling in regards to the tragedy which unfolded at St Andrew’s, the shock and grief of which can cascade for a very long time, is that the younger man involved was, in everyone’s estimation, an absolute delight,” Dr Collier wrote.
“He gave the impression to be similar to the most effective of us. An hour earlier than he dedicated the atrocity, he was talking in a relaxed, pleasant mode with employees at that faculty.
“He was not a monster; fairly, within the final 5 hours of his life, he dedicated a monstrous act which was in full contradiction to what everybody who knew him noticed in the remainder of his quick life.”
[email protected] with Natalie Brown, Georgina Noak