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Achimota School fined GH¢600K for negligently causing death of student in 2016

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Achimota School has been found liable for negligence in the death of a student about eight years ago.

According to the facts, 15-year-old Kervin Kofi Moses on November 28, 2016, felt unwell and visited the student clinic complaining of Malaria.

He was, however, given ibuprofen to treat his illness and was told it was not malaria. Having confidence that his situation is worse than diagnosed, Kevin was said to have phoned his mother to notify her of his condition.

The evidence adduced during the trial suggests that the school through the Housemaster of Fraser House where the late student was accommodated refused calls by the mother to send her son to the hospital.

According to the judgment, the mother during cross-examination testified that ‘I had so much concern for Kervin, so I quickly placed a call to the 1st defendant (the house master) and requested for permission to take Kervin to the hospital myself but the 1st defendant declined.

The judge in his decision held that the school owed a duty of care to the child since he was left in their care. The school explained that when Kevin went to the health clinic and was asked to report back in two days.

The court, however, found that ‘it was the duty of the 1st defendant (Housemaster) to make sure that, Kervin go for the check-up because 1st Defendant was at the moment responsible for the health needs of the child.’

The evidence adduced also suggests that the mother of the late student between November 28 and December 1 sent messages to the housemaster seeking information about the health condition of her only child and offered to take him to the hospital.

Most of these messages were found not to have been responded to, even though before the situation, there were conversations between the mother and the housemaster on some monies she had sent to the child through the housemaster.

In one of the messages: the mother of the late student who was the first plaintiff is recorded to have said ‘Please I hope I’m not breaking bounds, I just want to find out how my son is doing, please am begging you pick my call.”

The housemaster is also recorded to have later responded on December 1 that ‘he is fine madam.’

But on December 2, 2016, he followed it up with a message to the mother of the deceased that her son was sick and had been rushed to the Achimota Hospital. He was later transferred to the 37 military hospital where he died on December 4, 2016.

The judge held that the School breached its duty to the student for not seeking prompt medical attention for him.

Achimota school, the housemaster and the Attorney General who were defendants in the case have, thus, been slapped with GH¢ 400,000 in general damages and GH¢ 200,000 in damages for negligently causing the death of Kervin.

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