A passenger who was injured when he tumbled out of a taxi near the Canberra Centre has lost a lawsuit, despite having initially succeeded in his claim for damages.
Bora Antonijevic and his former neighbour drank together in Ainslie on Melbourne Cup Day in 2014 before deciding to catch a cab to Civic and go to the Labor Club.
Mr Antonijevic, now 73, fell out of the back seat at the end of the journey and hurt his neck, back and left knee.
The man, who weighed 120kg at the time and had a history of hospital admissions following excessive drinking and falls due to dizziness, sued taxi driver Jagiwan Malhi and insurer NRMA.
Mr Antonijevic claimed Mr Malhi had negligently moved the cab forward while he was still getting out, causing his collapse.
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Magistrate Peter Morrison found in his favour in 2019 and awarded Mr Antonijevic $58,297.
But the subsequent discovery of a transcript error "decisive to the outcome" meant the case had to be re-heard.
On the second occasion, late last month, Magistrate Glenn Theakston said there were "a sufficient number of inconsistencies within [Mr Antonijevic's] evidence".
"[These] cause me enough concern to have strong reservations about the reliability of his claim," he said.
Mr Theakston said the Serbian man had initially alleged the taxi ran over and dragged him post-fall, but he had later conceded neither of those things had happened.
The 73-year-old's description of the way he had landed when he fell also changed over time.
At one stage, the man even made "the frank concession" that "the truth is that I didn't know what had happened and why".
Mr Theakston was scathing of the way Mr Antonijevic conducted himself, describing him as being "non-responsive, evasive and even supercilious" at several points during his evidence.
"At times, rather than answering a question, he volunteered the absurd," the magistrate said in his decision.
In contrast, Mr Theakston said he "comfortably accepted" the evidence of Mr Malhi, who insisted his cab had remained parked while Mr Antonijevic alighted.
"Further, the evidence of a third witness was that the taxi did not move," the magistrate said.
That witness was Mr Antonijevic's former neighbour, who said he had not seen the moment the plaintiff dropped to the ground.
Mr Theakston therefore entered judgment for Mr Malhi and the NRMA, ordering Mr Antonijevic to pay their legal costs.
He said he would have awarded the 73-year-old $77,792 in damages had his claim succeeded a second time.
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