Peter Griffiths endured stomach cramps, fever and diarrhoea while staying at the all-inclusive Aqua Fantasy Aqua Park Hotel and Spa, in Izmir, Turkey back in 2014
Image: Champion News)
A British tourist who lost a stone and a half after catching a tummy bug has had his £29,000 compensation payout taken away by top judges.
Peter Griffiths lost 21lb and spent the rest of his holiday in hospital after he was struck down by stomach cramps, fever and diarrhoea while staying at the all-inclusive Aqua Fantasy Aqua Park Hotel and Spa, in Izmir, Turkey, in 2014.
The 58-year-old sued holiday giant TUI and blamed the food at the hotel for his illness, which left him still having stomach cramps more than five years later.
After hearings at a county court and London’s High Court, the dad-of-one was awarded £29,000 for his ordeal by Mr Justice Martin Spencer in August.
But Mr Griffiths will now go empty-handed after the Court of Appeal reversed his decision.
Lady Justice Asplin and Lord Justice Nugee said the judge was wrong to say the evidence of Mr Griffith’s bug expert should be accepted just because TUI had not put forward its own.
But Lord Justice Bean, who disagreed but was outvoted by his Court of Appeal colleagues, said Mr Griffiths, of Fleet, Hants, must be left “wondering what he did wrong”.
“He instructed a leading firm of personal injury solicitors, who in turn instructed an eminent microbiologist whose integrity has not been questioned,” he said.
“Mr Griffiths and his wife gave evidence at the trial, were cross-examined, and were found… to be entirely honest witnesses.
“The eminent expert gave his opinion that on the balance of probabilities Mr Griffiths’ illness was caused by the consumption of contaminated food or fluid supplied by the hotel.
“No contrary evidence was disclosed or called, and the expert was not cross-examined. Yet he lost his case.”
At the original county court trial of his claim – which Mr Griffiths won – he told how he was on holiday with his wife and then 12-year-old son in August 2014 when he was struck down.
Apart from once eating out when he went to a pharmacy, he took all of his holiday meals at the hotel, which boasts six restaurants and nine bars.
His lawyers said his hygiene concerns included food allegedly being left outside and not in fridges, sometimes being served lukewarm, as well as birds and cats frequently eating food left over from guests.
He first became ill on August 4, he said, and spent two days in bed before going to the pharmacy for medication on August 7.
He then fell ill again on August 10 and was hospitalised three days later.
Mr Griffiths was treated with intravenous fluids and antibiotics and was well enough just in time to fly home on August 16.
At the end of the county court trial in September 2019, Judge Delia Truman dismissed his case, saying the evidence of a microbiologist called by his lawyers did not prove the bug came from the hotel.
She said it was unclear why the professor had dismissed eating out at the local restaurant as a source of infection and there was no “clear train of logic” in his report.
Mr Justice Martin Spencer overturned her ruling at the High Court in August ruling that the evidence was “uncontroverted” due to TUI not calling an expert to challenge his views.
However, TUI then took the case to the Court of Appeal, where Lady Justice Asplin and Lord Justice Nugee have now restored the county court ruling, meaning Mr Griffiths will get nothing.
Ruling, Lady Justice Asplin said: “Judge Truman did not decide that the report was ‘wrong’ in the sense of expressly rejecting his conclusion.
“She decided that the report was insufficient to satisfy the burden of proof in relation to causation which fell upon Mr Griffiths because of its deficiencies, which she set out.
“It is not for us, nor was it for (Mr Justice Martin Spencer) to overturn her evaluative judgment in that regard.”
Lord Justice Bean disagreed with his colleagues, but was outvoted two to one, meaning TUI’s appeal was allowed and Mr Griffith’s compensation bid ultimately rejected.
Speaking earlier, Mr Griffiths said he had been “really looking forward” to his holiday, but it had been “completely ruined.”
“It was the most unwell I have ever been, and I was worried that I wouldn’t even be able to fly home,” he said.