Personal Injury Blog

Plaintiff assaulted by his neighbour awarded $217,500 in damages

In reasons for judgment released today, the court in Rycroft v. Rego, 2017 BCSC 373, awarded the plaintiff $217,500 in damages after he was assaulted by his neighbour.  The assault stemmed from a dispute about the behavior of the defendant’s son at a BMX “bike park” which had been set up on vacant land in between the plaintiff and defendant’s respective properties.  Another neighbour had noticed the defendant’s son and a friend in the bike park, and believed they were doing damage to it.  That neighbour yelled at the children to get off the property.  The defendant was told (mistakenly) by his son that the plaintiff had yelled at him.  The defendant then went to confront the plaintiff at his home and the assault occurred.  In finding the defendant fully liable, Mr. Justice J. Williams said as follows:

[1]             The plaintiff, William Joseph Rycroft, brings an action alleging the tort of battery. He says that the defendant Nelson Rego wrongfully inflicted physical violence upon him.

[2]             For the reasons that follow, I rule in Mr. Rycroft’s favour.

[79]         Frankly, it is my view that Mr. Rego was, unfortunately, angry when he approached Mr. Rycroft and decided, rashly, to deal with the person he thought had been acting offensively toward his son and his son’s friend. Nothing the plaintiff did immediately before the altercation began can be said to have constituted a provocation of Mr. Rego. As noted above, I find that the defendant was angry when he approached Mr. Rycroft, and that that anger overwhelmed his better judgment, resulting in the assault. What he did was ill-considered and foolish – a brief but quite regrettable event that has had significant regrettable repercussions for all concerned.

The full decision can be found here: http://www.courts.gov.bc.ca/jdb-txt/sc/17/03/2017BCSC0373.htm