INXS guitarist Tim Farriss loses court battle over mangled boat finger
INXS guitarist and founding member of the iconic band Tim Farriss has lost a legal battle over a boat accident that mutilated his finger, rendering the guitar legend unable to play the instrument.
Mr Farriss sought legal damages of $622,000 from the boat company’s owner, John William Axford, over the 2015 incident, where his finger became caught in a chain while he was dropping an anchor in Akuna Bay, in northern Sydney.
He earlier insisted he had received insufficient instructions on how to operate the anchor, which he claimed should have been better maintained and equipped with warning signs.
But his bid was ultimately overturned, with the NSW Supreme Court ruling on Friday there was inconsistencies in his evidence.
It followed a six-day hearing in the Supreme Court last year, which heard the accident left Farriss traumatised, depressed and suffering recurrent nightmares.
Farriss’ barrister, Adrian Williams, told the court that despite the finger being surgically reattached, he was unable to play guitar.
The court heard that since the accident he had become depressed and could not compose music to the same degree.
During a cross-examination last year, Mr Axford’s lawyer, John Turnbull, suggested Mr Farriss had caused the accident himself by stepping on a foot pedal that caused the chain to engage.
Farriss said he “couldn’t be 100 per cent sure” as he was in a state of shock.
“I’ve had nightmares about both hands being dragged into the winch, I’ve had nightmares about my feet being dragged into the winch – I can’t honestly say that my mental condition is stable enough to remember exactly,” Farriss said.
“It was a long time ago – it was a traumatic event.”
In his published reasons for the Judgement on Friday, Justice Richard Cavanagh, SC, found there had been inconsistencies in the account.
Justice Cavanagh wrote that Farriss had stepped on the button to pull up the anchor while he was holding the chain, causing his hand to be pulled into the machinery.
The judge accepted Farriss was having problems with the anchor chain, but said it had to have been working when his hand was pulled into the machinery.
“In circumstances in which the plaintiff bears the onus of establishing breach and causation, uncertainty as to what actually happened does not assist the plaintiff,” he said.
He has been ordered to pay the defendants’ costs.
Farriss was an original member of INXS, which formed in 1977, along with his brothers Jon Farriss and Andrew Farriss, Garry Beers, Kirk Pengilly and frontman Michael Hutchence, who died in 1997.
Their well-known hits include Never Tear Us Apart, Need You Tonight, New Sensation and Suicide Blonde.
Originally published as INXS guitarist Tim Farriss loses court battle over mangled boat finger
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