A tradesman who lost both legs below the knee after an electric shock while allegedly stealing scrap metal from an abandoned mine has lost his $1 million damages claim against Western Power.

Dale Austin, 33, had his legs amputated below the knee in June 2002, after 22,000 volts surged through his body while he tried to cut down power lines he assumed had been disconnected at the former Boral mine in Toodyay.

They were still live, causing power to surge through Mr Austin's body and legs and into the metal transformer box he was standing on.

He was granted permission to sue the utility, claiming it was negligent in failing to disconnect electricity to the quarry, or to provide warning the power lines were still live.

Last year, a District Court judge ruled Mr Austin was not entitled to damages, because it was his "criminal conduct" that led him to be exposed to the risk.

And WA's Supreme Court has agreed, throwing out Mr Austin's appeal that he believed the metal and wire at the quarry had been abandoned, and it was permissible for him to take it as scrap.

The West Australian

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