A YOUNG man who became a quadriplegic after falling from a rope swing into the Murray River has lost his civil case against the local council.Dylan Streller had argued Albury City Council breached its duty of care by failing to remove the rope swing he fell from during Australia Day celebrations in January 2008.
Mr Streller, then aged 16, used the rope to backflip into the Murray River at Oddies Creek Park in central west NSW before striking his head on the bottom of the river, causing him to become paralysed.
He alleged the council failed to remove or supervise the rope swing, failed to ensure the water was sufficiently deep and failed to warn him and others it was dangerous to dive into the water or use the swing.
Handing down her judgment in the NSW Supreme Court yesterday, Justice Megan Latham, found Mr Streller was aware of a sign on the river bank which said: "Warning: this river has strong current and very cold water."
She found the council regularly inspected the river banks with the express purpose of removing rope swings and had asked a contractor to get rid of the rope swing in question as soon as possible the day before the accident.
"I do not accept that the (council) encouraged recreational use of the subject tree or any tree emanating from the river bank," Justice Latham said.
"To the contrary, the (council) attempted, by the erection of signage, to discourage persons from swimming in the river and removed rope swings, or caused them to be removed as soon as practicable."
Justice Latham said she was of the view that the risk was obvious.
"The plaintiff acknowledged that he was performing a risky manoeuvre which increased the risk inherent in diving or jumping from the rope swing and that he performed that manoeuvre because the thrill of using the rope was heightened by that manoeuvre," she said, dismissing his case.