judgement legal gavel

This ongoing case has a protracted history, which arose out of life-changing injuries which the plaintiff sustained in an assault which took place on an evening out, during which the defendant had spear-tackled the plaintiff and which resulted inter alia in him sustaining an incomplete spinal cord injury.

This specific portion of the case relates to an interlocutory issue which arose at the commencement of the trial, in respect of the question of onus and the duty to begin. The trial judge was called upon to make a preliminary ruling under Rule 39(11) of the Uniform Rules of Court, on this issue. The defendant had pleaded to the plaintiff’s particulars of claim, to the effect that he admitted having pushed the plaintiff, although other elements of the assault were disputed. The trial court held that the defendant’s admission in his plea that he had pushed the plaintiff in self-defence, was an admission to an assault on him, and that it was irrelevant that the admitted assault did not mirror that described by the plaintiff. It was consequently held that the defendant attracted an onus and bore the duty to begin, in accordance with the principle laid down in Mabaso v Felix 1981 (3) SA 865 (A).

For a copy of the full judgment click here.

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