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Families Fight for Justice

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During 1998 Attwood Marshall was privileged to represent families with two major cases that created national and international attention.

Unfortunately these families were forced to deal with issues related to the tragic deaths of their beloved children in courts.

These families shared as unswerving desire for justice to be done, showing enormous courage and commitment in the face of extremely trying circumstances.

Attwood Marshall congratulates the parents of Thomas and Eileen Lonergan and the Scrase family for their resolve and ultimate triumphs.

Thomas and Eileen Lonergan lost their lives when left at sea while diving off Cairns in northern Queensland.

Their American families endured months of speculation and innuendo regarding the deaths, before the Cairns Coroner found there was sufficient evidence of negligence to justify charging the dive operator with manslaughter.

The families were represented at the Coroner’s hearing by Attwood Marshall managing partner Rob Davis. Rob has extensive experience with cases involving negligence by dive charter operators and has been a long-term advocate of dive industry reform.

Rob also represented Carol and Jeff Scrase, who were awarded $571,000 in damages after their daughter Kerryn was killed after stepping off a school bus.

Kerryn was hit by a car at Banora Point in November 1993 after leaving the bus to look for her younger sister Laura who had been sent home to get a forgotten bus pass.

The Court found against the driver of the car, the bus driver and the bus company, emphasizing the duty of care that drivers and bus companies have to children.

Both cases have helped to highlight vitally important safety issues for the community and the families, and through their willingness to fight for justice, have helped to bring about reforms that will save the lives of others.

Resource: Gold Coast Bulletin 4 April 1999

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