Tim Farris
Tim Farris

INXS star sues over severed finger

INXS member Tim Farriss has told a Sydney court he can no longer play the guitar past "a few beginner-level chords" following a boating accident in which his hand was mangled.

Farriss, the super-group's lead guitarist, said he stared down in horror at the bloody stump of his left ring finger after it was hacked off by a boat's anchoring equipment in 2015 and screamed: "It's taken my finger off!"

A shocked Farriss - who feared he was about to faint - then gathered the finger in the palm of his hand and held it against his chest.

 

Tim Farriss on stage in 2006. Picture: Jackson Flindell
Tim Farriss on stage in 2006. Picture: Jackson Flindell

The musician is now suing the Sydney rental boat's operators - John William Axford and Jill Mary Axford of Church Point Charter - for damages.

He claims they are responsible for the injury that ended his career.

"I will never forget what I saw next as long as I live," Farriss, 61, said in his evidentiary statement for the NSW Supreme Court civil case.

"My hand was covered in rust, blood and mud, but I could see one of my fingers had been severed and the others were disfigured, badly lacerated and bleeding."

Farriss' legal team argues there was a foreseeable and not insignificant risk of injury to someone handling the anchoring equipment on the Omega Clipper 34 boat.

The guitarist hired the boat for a leisure cruise on Pittwater Bay over the Australia Day weekend in 2015.

The statement of claim argues the defendants failed to properly instruct Farriss on how to use the equipment, and didn't maintain a fully functioning anchor system.

The Axfords and Church Point Charter insist Farriss was given proper instructions but failed to take due care and failed to operate the anchor appropriately.

 

Farriss (far left) with INXS in 1997.
Farriss (far left) with INXS in 1997.

"If (Farriss) suffered injury, loss or damage (which is not admitted), the defendants say such loss and damage was caused or contributed to by the first plaintiff's own fault and negligence," the defence states.

The musician argues that on January 24 in 2015 he and his wife Beth sailed into Akuna Bay but struggled to set anchor because the chain was "prone to 'kinking'".

They telephoned a Church Point Charter employee for assistance after the anchor motor stopped operating and then reset the circuit breaker.

They said the motor restarted but it didn't halt the kinking of the chain. Farriss says he attempted to realign the chain only for it to start spinning out of control.

He suffered a severed left ring finger and serious injuries to his index and middle finger. There was a minor injury to his pinky finger.

 

Farriss at home in Fairlight, Sydney, in 2014, before the boating accident.
Farriss at home in Fairlight, Sydney, in 2014, before the boating accident.

Eleven hours of surgery reattached the severed finger but it is no longer functional.

Farriss is seeking special damages - which have not been quantified - for loss of earnings and future loss of earnings, as well as out-of-pocket expenses.

Montana Productions, which is owned by Farriss and his wife and controls his publishing rights and royalty income - is also seeking damages.

"I find my reattached ring finger to be an annoyance and unsightly. I have considered having it amputated," Farriss said.

"I am no longer able to play guitar other than a few beginner-level chords."

The plaintiffs on Tuesday sought to amend their statement of claim in the Supreme Court but the defence opposed the move.

Associate Justice Joanne Harrison reserved her judgment with directions to be issued on Friday.