Case Summary

R v Criminal Injuries Compensation Board ex parte Gould

Citation 1989  QBD  unreported 
Decision Date 16/02/1989
Case Name R v Criminal Injuries Compensation Board ex parte Gould
Scheme Pre-tariff Schemes
Paragraph Number 6c
Keywords Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme 1979 – Paragraph 6(c) – Eligibility –Procedure - Conduct – Provocation – Application for adjournment – Evidence – Witness statements produced at hearing - Prejudice
Headnote Summary of decision: An applicant’s award was reduced by 50% due to his conduct in provoking an assault. The Criminal Injuries Compensation Board relied upon witness statements disclosed to the applicant on the day of the hearing. His application for judicial review of the Board’s decision was dismissed where there was, in fact, no unequivocal refusal of an adjournment to another day and his case was not in fact prejudiced as the further evidence that he would have adduced would not have assisted his case in any event. Facts: The applicant, G, had lived with a woman, LG, for some time, but they separated in 1982. In January 1983 LG set up home with another man, L. It was unclear whether LG and L were married. In February 1983, LG sent G a valentine card. On 24 February G went to where LG was living and sought to communicate with her through the letterbox. LG was in a state of agitation. A neighbour called the police, alleging that G was pestering LG and G was seen talking through the letterbox by the police. G then went home. The neighbour then informed L of what he had seen. An hour or so later, G was assaulted by L in his own home. G was seriously injured. G’s parents were also injured by L in the same attack. L was convicted of offences of violence against G and G’s parents. On the morning of the hearing before the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board (‘the Board’), G’s solicitor, who did not arrive particularly early, was served with additional statements running to 31 pages. Counsel for the Board indicated that reliance would be placed on a statement from the neighbour to show that G had conducted himself in such a way as to render it inappropriate that a full award be granted. The solicitor was concerned that he was unable to assimilate and deal with the contents of the statements in the 20 minutes available before being called in by the Board. He sought an adjournment. In an affidavit for the judicial review proceedings, he claimed that he was told by the Chairman that there would be no adjournment to another day. This was refuted by the Chairman of the Board in an affidavit in response. G’s solicitor was granted an adjournment until the end of the list and, therefore, had a further 45 minutes to consider the papers. He was then asked if he was ready. The evidence as to the answer given was unclear. However, no further application to adjourn was made. G’s solicitor said that this was because of the unequivocal refusal earlier in the day. The Board reduced G’s award under paragraph 6(c) on the grounds that his conduct in associating with LG and going to L’s house, where he created a disturbance, rendered a 50% reduction appropriate. G sought judicial review of the refusal to adjourn G’s application to another day, arguing that it was contrary to natural justice and that his case was prejudiced because his solicitor was unable to have available further evidence that an adjournment would have enabled him to adduce. G argued that there were 4 issues of fact which would have been illuminated in G’s favour by further evidence that could have been called if an adjournment had been granted: (a) Whether G knew that LG was married to L; (b) whether LG had encouraged G in any way; (c) how serious was the disturbance at the house; (d) what the significance was of a pistol found in possession of L. Held, refusing the application: (1) The affidavit evidence did not either establish or allow an inference to properly be drawn that an adjournment to another day was unequivocally refused. That alone was sufficient to dismiss G’s application. (2) If, however, the court was wrong about there not being an improper refusal of an adjournment, G had suffered no prejudice. In the court’s view there was nothing before it to suggest that any evidence could have been obtained which would have effectively countered the allegation, substantiated from several sources, against G. (3) Further evidence about the 4 issues raised would not assist G: (a) as G went to pester a woman who was living with her lover, the issue of her marriage or G’s knowledge of it would not assist his case; (b) the Valentine’s card was before the Board in any event and the issue raised was irrelevant to the question that the Board had to answer, namely, whether that which G did constituted provocation leading to the assault upon him. The reason why G did what he did was immaterial; (c) it was a fact that the incident of pestering at a locked door at the house where a woman was living with her current lover occurred. The further evidence that G sought, the Police Constable’s statement, did not in fact diminish the incident;(d) the Board in any event had before them L’s long record of convictions which included a conviction for unlawful possession of the firearm. Parts of the scheme and other legislation referred to in judgment Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme 1979, Paragraph 6(c) Representation: Mr Neil Berrigan, instructed by Cornish & Co, Ilford, Essex, for G. Mr Graham Platford, instructed by the Treasury Solicitor, for the Board.
Download R_v_CICB_ex_parte_Gould.pdf