Plaintiff was an infant who was raped by the defendant. The defendant was convicted and sentenced criminally.
Is psychological damage that does not manifest itself as visible and provable illness actionable?
Emotional distress is not compensable (harm has to be visible and provable to be compensable)
Court cited Pollock on Torts: "A state of mind such as fear or acute grief is not in itself capable of assessment as measurable temporal damage. But visible and provable illness may be the natural consequence of violent emotion, and may furnish a ground of action against a person whose wrongful act or want of due care produced that emotion…. In every case the question is whether the shock and the illness were in fact natural or direct consequences of the wrongful act or default; if they were, the illness, not the shock, furnishes the measurable damage, and there is no more difficulty in assessing it than in assessing damages for bodily injuries of any kind."
** In the case at bar, there was no visible and provable illness within the meaning of this quotation.
Action dismissed without costs.
This provision has gradually been relaxed in aggravated circumstances (e.g. see Tran v Financial Debt Recovery; Samm v Eccles)