FARDOUET M P H M & ANOR v GOPAUL D & ORS
2021 SCJ 411
For the Defendants
Mrs J. Rivalland-Robert, Attorney-at-Law
Mr G. Glover, Senior Counsel
A. BACKGROUND & ISSUES IN DISPUTE
On 19 June 2009, a road accident occurred along Royal Road, Case Noyale, between car 4720 ZS 05 driven by Micheline Paulette Helene Marie Fardouet, a French National, and van 667 FB 01 driven by Ranjeet Ramah, a Mauritian Citizen. As a result of the said accident, Micheline Paulette Helene Marie Fardouet and the passenger sustained severe injuries and both vehicles were heavily damaged.
The issues in dispute were the liability and circumstances of the said accident. The quantum of damages was to follow once the issue of liability would be sorted out.
B. PLAINTIFF’S CASE
The plaintiffs’ case rested on the ground of “la garde” pursuant to article 1384, alinéas 1, 5 and 6 of the Code Civil Mauricien, the relevant part which reads as follows:
“1384. On est responsable non seulement du dommage que l’on cause par son propre fait, mais encore de celui qui est causé par le fait des personnes dont on doit répondre, ou des choses que l’on a sous sa garde. ....
Le gardien de la chose, du dommage causé par le fait de celle-ci. La responsabilité ci-dessus a lieu, à moins que .....le gardien de la chose ne prouve que le dommage a été causé par l’effet d’une force majeur ou de la faute exclusive de la victime.
The Defendants raised the defence of exclusive “faute”, negligence and/or imprudence of Micheline Paulette Helene Marie Fardouet, as a result of which the accident occurred.
Having regard to the evidence on record, namely the location of the debris, the diesel oil, the position of the two vehicles after the accident, alongside the testimony of one Inspector Jeewon, the enquiry officer who attended the locus forthwith post the accident, who deposed to the effect that both the car and the van were at their original spots after the accident as shown on the sketch plan, document P1, drawn by the Police after measurements were taken on the date of the accident in presence of Ranjeet Ramah, the Court found that the circumstances of the accident as explained by Micheline Paulette Helene Marie Fardouet were rather vague and did not tally with the aforesaid evidence before it.
In light of the above, the Supreme Court held that the Defendants have, on a balance of probabilities, proved that the accident occurred due to the exclusive “faute”, negligence and/or imprudence of Micheline Paulette Helene Marie Fardouet and therefore, the Plaint was dismissed with costs.
The Judgment can be accessed here: https://supremecourt.govmu.org/view_document/1717801/2943226?file=https%3A//supremecourt.govmu.org/system/files/judgment/1717801/fardouet-m-p-h-m-anor-v-gopaul-d-ors-2021-scj-411.pdf%23search%3D%222021%20SCJ%20411%22%26phrase%3Dtrue&searchType=1&search=%222021%20SCJ%20411%22