Case Summary


Citation 1998  EWCH  Admin  625
Decision Date 11/06/1998
Scheme 2001 Scheme
Paragraph Number 4, 6
Keywords Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme 1990 – Paragraph 4(a),6(c) – Eligibility – Procedure - Crime of violence – Self-defence – Conduct - No evidence of self-defence by assailant – Evidential burden on applicant – Adequacy of reasons
Headnote Summary of decision Where there was no evidence that an alleged assailant had acted in self-defence, it was not open to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board to find that the applicant had failed to negate the issue of self-defence. Facts The Applicant (‘C’) sustained very serious injuries as a result of a violent encounter with his fiancée (‘G’), who pushed him on the back of his shoulders during a heated argument so that his head hit a wall. C’s case was that he was the victim of a crime of violence committed by G. The Criminal Injuries Compensation Board (‘the Board’) disallowed C’s application for compensation on the grounds that the push by G was not unjustified so as to amount to a crime of violence and that, even if it did amount to a crime of violence, it would be inappropriate to make a reduced or any award on account of C’s own conduct in the argument. C sought judicial review of the Board’s decision on the grounds that (i) there was no evidence upon which the Board could form the view that C had failed to discharge the burden of negating self-defence and (ii) no reasonable Board could have reduced the award to nil in the circumstances. Held, allowing the application (1) It was for the C to make out his case. He had to show that this personal injury was directly attributable to a crime of violence. It was uncontentious that the push, which the Board accepted was administered by G, amounted to a crime of violence unless it was done in self-defence. Therefore, in principle, C had to negate the issue of self-defence. However, unless there was some material suggesting that G was defending herself, it was very hard to see that there was, in this respect, anything to negate. (2) The evidence before the Board, showing the attitude of G towards the incident, was wholly inconsistent with any assertion by her of self-defence. Although she gave a number of inconsistent accounts, she gave no account alleging, asserting or suggesting that she was in any way defending herself. (3) The Board did not address distinctly in their reasons whether it was a case of self-defence at all. They appeared to have simply assumed that it was. In so doing, the Board arrived at a conclusion which stood beyond the limits imposed by public law principles in the light of the evidence they heard. In short, as C had no self-defence argument to refute; the Board fell into error in holding that he had not refuted it. (4) It was doubtful whether C’s actions amounted to such heinous conduct on his part as to justify the conclusion the Board reached in making a nil award, but the court refrained from holding that a reasonable Board must have made some award. The decision to make a nil award was quashed on the grounds that it was not properly reasoned. Parts of scheme and other legislation referred to in judgment Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme 1990, paragraphs 4(a), 6(c) & 25 Representation Miss C Booth QC and Mr G M McDermott instructed by Hugh Potter & Co for the Applicant Mr D Lloyd Jones instructed by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board for the Respondent
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