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UK High Court Victory for Bangladeshi Arsenic Victims

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  • dr_sara_bennett
    PRESS RELEASE 8 May 2003 HIGH COURT VICTORY FOR BANGLADESHI ARSENIC VICTIMS Mr Justice Simon today gave judgment in the claim brought by victims of arsenic
    Message 1 of 1 , May 8, 2003
      PRESS RELEASE
      8 May 2003

      HIGH COURT VICTORY FOR BANGLADESHI ARSENIC VICTIMS

      Mr Justice Simon today gave judgment in the claim brought by victims
      of arsenic poisoning in Bangladesh against the Natural Environment
      Research Council, dismissing the Defendant's application to strike
      out the victim's claims.

      Leigh Day & Co and Alexander Harris represent approximately 750
      Bangladeshi villagers suffering from arsenic poisoning, who claim
      that the British Geological Survey (`BGS', a part of the NERC) was
      negligent in their failure to test for arsenic when they carried out
      a survey in 1992 on the toxicity of Bangladeshi well water. It is
      the Claimants' case that if the BGS had carried out the necessary
      tests they would have identified the very high levels of arsenic
      contamination in the water. Instead, they gave the water a clean
      bill of health and as a consequence the Claimants continued to drink
      the water that was highly contaminated for a further 5-6 years
      before the first arsenic victims were diagnosed.

      The Claimants all suffer from arsenic related diseases. The lead
      case, Mr Binod Sutradhur, has been diagnosed with painful ulcers on
      his hands and feet - typical of arsenicosis, and is much more
      vulnerable to skin cancer and other forms of cancer.

      The Defendants sought to argue that they did not owe a duty of care
      of the victims, and that the case should not proceed to trial. Mr
      Justice Simon, dismissing the Defendant's application, concluded
      that this case raises a novel point in the developing area of law on
      the reliance of technical reports and that there is a case for the
      Defendants to answer, which should be decided at a full trial.

      Martyn Day of Leigh Day & Co said today:-
      `The arsenic poisoning in Bangladesh has been a tragedy for many
      thousands of villagers that may well have been prevented, or
      certainly ameliorated, if the Defendants had done their job
      properly. It is important for British justice that the Defendant's
      liability is properly resolved by this case going forward to a full
      trial. I am very pleased that the Court has today rejected the
      Defendants attempt to block this happening.'

      __________________________


      For further information please contact:-
      Mr Martyn Day on 020 7650 1234; or
      Mrs Bozena Michalowska–Howells on 020 7650 1238
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