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   Home      Reeves v Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis
 
Reeves v Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis [2000] 1 AC 360 House of Lords

Martin Lynch committed suicide whilst in a police cell. He had attempted suicide earlier that day in the cells at the magistrates. He had also attempted suicide on previous occasions. He had been seen by a doctor at the police station on arrival who reported that he was not schizophrenic or depressed but was a suicide risk. The custody officer checked him at 1.57 pm and left the hatch open. He was found at 2.05 pm having used his shirt as a ligature secured by the open hatch. He was unable to be resuscitated and died a week later. The defendant argued that as Lynch was of sound mind his voluntary and informed act of suicide broke the chain of causation.

Held:

The act of suicide was the very thing that the police were under a duty to prevent to treat this as a novus actus interveniens would deprive the duty of any substance. Therefore the defendant was liable, however damages were reduced by 50% under the Law Reform (Contributory Negligence) Act 1945.
 
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