The High Court has said that two victims of the black cab rapist, John Worboys, have the right to receive compensation from the Metropolitan Police because of the flawed police investigation. The Court ruled that systemic failures by the police meant that Worboys was not stopped sooner, and the verdict could mean that hundreds more women will also be entitled to compensation payments from the Metropolitan Police. The extent and level of damages will now be assessed and compensation will be calculated for the victims.
John Worboys was jailed for life in 2009 for offences committed between 2002 and 2008. He was convicted of two rapes and 12 drug charges. Mr Worboys picked up fares and claimed to have won the lottery, showing a bag of cash as proof of his winnings. He would then offer his victims a glass of champagne, which had been laced with sedatives, and would sexually assault or rape the victims. Many of the women could not recall the full details of what had happened to them. The police requested that any other potential victims of Worboys came forward.
The two victims that won the right to compensation brought claims against Mr Worboys under article three of the Human Rights Act. This means the right not to be subjected to torture, inhuman or degrading treatment. The judge ruled in favour of the two victims, also stating that a systemic failure by the police meant that Worboys was not captured and stopped sooner.
It is believed that Worboys attached 100 women during a seven year period, and not only do these findings mean that many of those women will be able to make similar claims against the Metropolitan Police, but it could open up new claims in a number of other cases too.
The Metropolitan Police had questioned whether they have a duty of care for victims, and said in a statement that they did not want to cast doubt on the claims of the victims, but believed it important to question the extent of liability and the role of the police in such cases. A source went on to say that they had contested the claims to determine a precedent in such cases.
A domestic abuse victim has filed a compensation claim against the Metropolitan Police after one of their officers admitted to having abused his position of power by sexually assaulting her. The incident occurred when the 38 year old woman was dragged out of a nightclub by her then boyfriend, and he physically abused her. PC James Formby attended, plied the woman with alcohol, and then took advantage of her inebriated state. Lawyers for the woman claim that the Met are responsible, although lawyers for the police are fighting the claims with a number of counter claims of their own.
This particular incident led to a series of reports by the Guardian newspaper, highlighting the extent of abuse by police officers in a position of power. Over four years, the Guardian found that 56 cases involving police officers and vulnerable victims had been brought. These cases included rape, sexual assault, and taking advantage of their position of power and trust.
One of the worst cases to date is that of 42 year old Stephen Mitchell, a former officer with Northumbria Police. Mitchell had previously been charged with a serious sexual assault while he was a soldier in the 1980s. Despite this conviction, he went on to serve for Northumbria Police, and he was convicted of two rapes, three indecent assaults, and six counts of misconduct in public office.
He received two life sentences, and was told he would not be eligible for parole for at least seven and a half years. That case led to an investigation into Police recruiting policies, and caused the Guardian to start its investigation into similar offences. They claim that the offences are typically hidden, and many officers are dealt with internally rather than facing public trial.
The Met are fighting the most recent case stating that even though the victim was very drunk, she had consented so there was no unlawful act. They also claim that the officer was acting on his own, and therefore the Met should be held vicariously liable for the actions that he undertook during the attack.
A landmark case in the Northwest will determine whether it is legally considered a crime to drink while pregnant. If the Court of Appeal finds that drinking while pregnant is tantamount to essentially poisoning a baby, it means that children that have suffered illness as a result of their mother’s drinking during pregnancy could be entitled to receive compensation payments. The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority had successfully challenged such claims, but the decision will now be taken by the Court of Appeal.
There has long been evidence to suggest that drinking while pregnant can harm a baby, but it has never been considered a criminal offence. There have been calls from certain groups to make it illegal, so that it would carry a similar penalty to that of assault or even of poisoning.
One of the potential dangers to a baby is that of Foetal Alcohol Syndrome, or FAS. Health experts say that it would require that a mother drink regularly during pregnancy in order for their child to be born with FAS, and that possible symptoms and side effects can include deformities as well as problems with emotional and physical development and attention and concentration problems. Recent research suggests that moderate and infrequent drinking may not cause damage to the baby or prevent their proper development.
None of the parties in the current case can be named for legal reasons, but the baby was diagnosed as having FAS when she was born. She is now six years old and living with foster parents. During a previous hearing, the mother was found to have administered poison that inflicted grievous bodily harm. The mother was believed to have taken drugs and to have consumed excessive amounts of alcohol regularly.
In 2011, the Court ruled that the child was eligible for a compensation payout because the mother had been grossly negligent. However, the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority, who were set to meet the payout, challenged the judgement and it was overturned by the upper tribunal of the Administration Appeals Chamber. No date has been set for the next hearing, but if compensation was awarded and the mother found guilty, it would have considerable ramifications on a wider scale.
Coroner Lord Justice Goldring has told jurors and the court that the current Hillsoborough Inquest is only interested in determining what, if anything, could have been differently and how things could be improved for similar situations in the future. He said that the jury was not responsible for attributing liability; nor are they responsible for determining whether compensation should be paid or how much compensation is owed. However, the findings of the inquest are highly likely to be used in compensation claims and cases brought following the hearing.
During an FA-Cup semi-final match between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest, on 15th April 1989, 96 people were killed and a further 766 were injured. The deaths occurred following a crush at the Leppings Lane end of the Hillsborough Stadium. Damaged and decrepit turn styles led to overcrowding outside the ground and there was, allegedly, a delay in opening exit gates to allow people through. The current inquest has been set up to determine whether the crush, and subsequent deaths, could have been prevented or minimised, and what can be done to help orevent a similar tragedy from occurring in the future.
An initial inquest in 1999 ruled that the deaths were accidental, but a landmark and well publicised inquest determine that this was not the case. The Hillsborough Independent Panel overruled the decision, and this has led to the new Inquest being opened.
Addressing the jury, the Coroner said that they would not be responsible for determining civil liability, but that they would make important decisions regarding the roles that were played that day, whether mistakes were made, and hopefully provide the families of the victims at least with some closure on the matter.
Although he said that the jury would not be responsible for judging civil liberties, it seems highly likely that family and loved ones of the victims will want to seek compensation if it is found that failings on the part of the police were directly attributable for the disaster. While the jury may not decide who is, and who is not, entitled to compensation, or even how much compensation they should receive, they will have an early hand in the process.
The government is seriously considering introducing what is referred to as a Cinderella Law, which would make it a criminal offence to starve children of love and impose emotional cruelty upon them. The new law would mean that children found to have been victims of the newly introduced crime may be able to claim compensation from parents, because the emotional neglect would be considered a form of criminal injury. Charity Action for Children is at the head of the group demanding the introduction of the law.
Emotional cruelty is not currently considered a criminal offence. While local authorities and the Court may decide to remove a child from its parents because of emotional neglect, parents will not be prosecuted unless it is found that they have committed some form of physical abuse or legal neglect. The new laws would change this, and would mean that Courts would have a wider range of offences with which to charge parents.
Sources close to the government have said that amendments to an existing bill are currently under consideration and are more likely to happen than not. The Telegraph had earlier reported that the Queen would introduce the idea during her speech in June, but because the new laws could be introduced as part of an extension to an existing bill, this would not be necessary. The changes could occur sooner rather than later.
The charity Action for Children is the primary driving force behind the proposals, but they have the backing of many other groups and a number of prominent MPs. Current legislation comes from the Children and Young Person’s Act of 1933, in which it is considered illegal to treat children in a manner that is likely to cause injury, including mental impairments.
The proposed changes would extend this bill so that the potential injuries include any impairment of physical, intellectual, emotional, social or behavioural development. The government has said that it could make the amendments prior to the next general election but also stressed that it was not yet a done deal and that work was still required on pushing the bill through.
Some of the victims of TV entertainer Stuart Hall are seeking compensation either from the man himself or from broadcasting company the BBC. If any of the claims are successful then it is plausible that there could be hundreds of cases from victims of Jimmy Saville and other celebrities currently under investigation by the police. Although there is usually a time limit to claiming in such cases, many of the victims have been advised to seek compensation especially as Hall has only just been sentenced recently.
Stuart Hall initially received a sentence of 15 months but the conviction was doubled to a 30 month sentence following an appeal of the conviction. Hall will now serve a 30 month sentence as well as being stripped of is OBE. However, while the sentence punishes Hall for his crimes, it does not help the victims, many of whom may still be affected today.
With most criminal injury compensation cases, the amount of compensation that is to be paid is determined by a number of factors including the type and severity of injury sustained. Guidelines of injury types and the tariffs paid for these injuries are published, but the effects of sexual and physical abuse are psychological as well as physical and this makes the compensation claim a complex one. Redress is still available but it will usually require the involvement of an experienced criminal injury solicitor to ensure the best result.
There is typically a two year statute for making a claim from CICA but there is special dispensation made for victims of sexual abuse. The guidelines and the board appreciate that many victims do not come forward straight away and that this is a recognised symptom of the ill effects of abuse. Therefore, even if a person has been abused many years ago, they may still have a right to claim compensation.
Criminal injury compensation pays a fixed amount for the type and severity of injury and also adds elements for special payments. These special payments can include anything from loss of earnings to the need for long-term or ongoing care and are designed to ensure that the victim is not left out of pocket as a result of the attack they were a victim of.
A cyclist in Cardiff has questioned South Wales police over the alarmingly low number of hit and run drivers that have been apprehended. Many such incidents are not recorded as crimes and this makes it impossible for the victim to be able to submit a criminal injury claim later. Cyclist, John Harris, has found that only 1 driver in 35 incidents between 1st April and 31st December 2012 was apprehended and this was as a result of CCTV footage.
A cyclist being knocked off their bike can lead to serious and long term injuries. It is important that victims of this type of incident report the crime to police as soon as possible. If the crime is not reported in the first place, then CICA will not be able to agree compensation with the victim and this is essential if the culprit is never apprehended.
This type of crime can be reported to the Motor Insurers’ Bureau, or MIB, but they will rarely take action if no driver can be identified. This means that victims must turn to the CICA as a means of chasing compensation. However, CICA will not take action if the incident is not reported as a crime. According to Mr Harris, Cardiff police rarely report the incidents as crimes because they do not follow up on them or attempt to make arrests.
A representative for South Wales Police said that incidents of this nature need to be considered a malicious act or one that constitutes dangerous driving in order for it to be recorded as a crime. In instances where this cannot be proven or where the police believe that it is not true, they will be recorded simply as road traffic incidents.
The CICA offers victims of crime the opportunity to seek and claim compensation even when they are unable to identify, or the police are unable to apprehend the criminal that committed the crime. Claimants and their claims need to meet certain criteria to be considered suitable and this means that incidents must be reported to police and recorded as a crime by the police.
A woman who was beaten unconscious by another woman while on a night out was offered £150 compensation and encouraged to take it so that police did not have to issue a caution. Police have defended the caution, although did not comment on the compensation offer, while the Centre of Crime Prevention claim that police do not have enough confidence that criminals will receive justice if they go to courts so rely heavily on the use of cautions.
Hayley Clayton was enjoying her first night out since the birth of her daughter and was out with her husband and work friends when she was attacked by another woman. The woman ran up, hit Mrs Clayton in the side of the head, and then ran away with her male companion. Friends called an Ambulance while Mr Clayton attempted to chase after the woman, to no avail.
Mrs Clayton was knocked unconscious during the attack and says that the next thing she remembers was waking up in Peterborough hospital. She required ten stitches to treat the injury to her head and was forced to take a week off from her job. Mrs Clayton works as a team leader in a flower factory. Her husband John works as a site co-ordinator at the same company location. They were out with work colleagues on the night of the attack.
Following the attack, the police contacted Mrs Clayton to tell her that they had apprehended the attacker. They asked her to accept a compensation payment of £100, stating that cautioning the attacker would be a waste of taxpayers’ money. Following a refusal to take the token amount, the police informed her of an increased offer of £150. Mrs Clayton declined this second offer saying that they wanted the woman to be prosecuted.
The South Wales Police have said that they use cautions as a means of deterring first time offenders and to punish criminals without having to go to court. A Ministry of Justice spokesperson has said that there will be a review into the use of all out of court disposals which would include the use of caution.
The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) has strict guidelines that must be followed when they decide whether to award compensation to victims of crime in the UK. To help ensure that they receive the fairest and most reasonable offer of compensation, there are certain mistakes that criminal injury claimants should avoid making. CICA is meant as a last resort for victims who are unable to track down the culprit of the crime, or for those victims where the culprit is unable to meet compensation figures.
The crime should always be reported to the police, no matter how seemingly innocuous or minor the offence is. CICA is highly unlikely to award compensation if the victim of a crime did not report that crime to the police. Even if the claimant did not suffer any injury immediately after the incident, if they need to claim in the future then this is still an essential step.
As well as reporting the crime to police, it is important that claimants cooperate with the police during their enquiry. CICA will take a dim view of those claimants that were unwilling to take part in a criminal line-up or provide answers to police questions.
CICA will not make payment to people that were involved in any criminal act themselves, when the alleged offence took place. This means that if a person was directly involved in the crime committed, for example by starting an altercation that led to them being assaulted, or were involved in another criminal act at the time of the incident then they will not receive compensation. Failing to admit this at the time of the investigation or during the case can have serious and unwanted consequences.
There are strict deadlines and time limits associated with CICA claims. Failing to apply within the two year time limit means that a claimant will not usually be able to claim. If the victim of a crime is currently in the process of a civil claim action and the two year deadline is about to be reached, they can submit a claim to CICA in order to meet the required deadline.
There are a number of factors and facts that are used by courts when determining how much compensation to pay to victims of crime that are injured during the incident. Although the exact amount awarded will differ from one case to the next, it is possible to use the guidelines that are provided by CICA in order to determine at least a ballpark figure of how much compensation an individual will receive.
Claimants should ensure that they use the very latest version of the guidelines, because there have been a number of changes made to the scheme especially over recent months. Using an outdated or superseded version of the guidelines means that the claimant would end up with an inaccurate reflection of the amount they would receive. In a lot of instances, the amounts due to claimants have been reduced so using an older version of the guidelines would lead to a figure higher than is due.
The guidelines include a “tariff of injuries”. This is effectively a price list that gives a full list of potential injuries and the financial value for each of these types of injury. Virtually all types of personal injury are listed in this section of the guidelines, ranging from relatively simple cuts and bruises to considerably more serious brain damage, head and back injuries. More complex injuries like damage to your sense of smell are also included.
Multiple injuries may be included in the compensation payment. The most serious injury will be considered the first injury and 100% of the guideline figures will be used. 30% of the second injury, and 15% of the third injury will also be included in the compensation calculations that are used to determine compensation.
Special payments are also considered by CICA and these can account for a larger portion of the payment than the injury tariff. Special treatments may include loss of earnings as well as the cost of any medical treatment that is required by the victim. If long term or specialist care is required then this too may be included as part of the compensation calculations and the amount that is awarded to the claimant.