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DRIVER'S pounds 137,000 CHAT ON A MOBILE; Dearest phone call in history.

Byline: MARK McGIVERN

A DRIVER has lost pounds 137,000 after making the most expensive mobile phone call in Scottish legal history.

Mark Joseph was in line for a pounds 205,000 payout after suffering serious injuries in a road smash on a country road.

But after a judge heard that Joseph, 41, had been on his mobile phone before the collision in his BMW he was given just pounds 68,000.

The part-time nightclub bouncer was ruled to be two thirds to blame for the collision, resulting in the pounds 137,000 cut to his award.

The other driver, Graham Braid, was ruled to have been speeding in his Nissan as he approached the junction.

Braid told how in the crash, Mr Joseph's phone landed in his passenger's lap, switched on. Someone could be heard screaming down the phone. Braid used the phone to call for help.

The BMW driver suffered smashed ribs and broken bones in his legs in the smash on the Lockerbie to Dalton road in 1999.

Medical complications forced him to give up weight-training, boxing, running, cycling, skiing and rugby.

The father-of-two has continuing problems with his left leg and did not work for four years.

He raised an action for damages from Braid, of Wamphray, Dumfriesshire.

Before Lord Bracadale heard evidence at the Court of Session in Edinburgh, it had been agreed that if Braid was entirely to blame, Joseph would get pounds 205,000.

But Lord Bracadale said that Joseph, of Templand, near Lochmaben, Dumfriesshire, had not paid enough attention as he approached the other car.

He added: "Mr Joseph was using a mobile phone and was to some extent distracted by that."

Last night, the burly Aussie shrugged off the pay-out cut and said: "This case was never about money.

"I wasn't even holding the phone at the time. It was in a cradle on the dashboard."

He has just recently started work again.

Top Scots lawyer David McKie said: "This ruling reflects the fact that such mobile conversations can lead to accidents."
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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Aug 19, 2003
Words:341
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