Case Summary


Citation 2001  EWCA  Admin  1193
Decision Date 20/11/2001
Scheme 1996 Scheme
Paragraph Number 8, 10
Keywords Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme 1996 – Paragraphs 8, 10 - Eligibility – Procedure – Crime of violence - Differing accounts of alleged assault – Determination of findings of fact – Reasonableness of decision
Headnote Summary of decision The applicant was a nurse who alleged that she had been assaulted by an elderly patient in his home. The Criminal Injuries Compensation Appeals Panel had two differing accounts of what had happened. The Court held that it was for the Panel to assess the evidence and make findings of fact. The Court could only intervene if the Panel made errors of law. Facts The applicant (‘G’) alleged she was assaulted by a patient (‘W’) whilst carrying out her duties as a nurse. G applied for compensation, which was disallowed on paper on the grounds that her injuries were not directly attributable to a crime of violence under paragraph 8(a) of the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme (‘the 1996 Scheme’). G subsequently requested a review of the decision and at a hearing before the Criminal Injuries Compensation Appeals Panel (‘the Panel’) her appeal was dismissed. The Panel heard evidence from G and from a police officer who had investigated the allegation of assault. The Panel’s reasons for refusal of the claim were that there were two widely differing accounts of the incident from G and W; accordingly, the Panel were not satisfied that the injury was a direct result of a crime of violence. G sought judicial review of the Panel’s decision on the grounds that it was Wednesbury unreasonable. She challenged, inter alia, the fact that the Panel took into account that W was not prosecuted and the relevance of the police officer’s evidence about W’s medical state and she contended that there were a number of matters of evidence which the Panel failed to consider. Held, dismissing the application (1) The Panel clearly took into account the fact that W was not prosecuted. However, although paragraph 10 of the Scheme made it clear that the conviction of the assailant of a criminal offence was not a necessary precondition to a successful application, it did not follow that a decision not to prosecute was irrelevant. The Panel did not err in their approach; they were entitled to consider why the police did not arrest W. (2) The contention that the police officer’s opinion as to W’s medical state was an irrelevant consideration for the Panel was not supported by the evidence in the case. (3) The contention that the Panel failed properly to consider a number of relevant matters was not supported by the evidence in the case. (4) Having heard the evidence of G and the police officer, the Panel preferred the police officer’s evidence, or at least, was not satisfied that G’s account was correct. There was no basis for disturbing the findings of the Panel on this point. There was no error of material fact on the part of the Panel. The Court could only intervene if the Panel made errors of law. (5) The submission that the Panel had reached a conclusion which no reasonable tribunal properly directing itself could have come to was rejected. Parts of scheme and other legislation referred to in judgment Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme 1996, paragraphs 6, 8, 10, 16-22 & 75 Criminal Injuries Compensation Act 1995 Representation Miss K Maciel instructed by the Royal College of Nursing for the Applicant Mr J Johnson instructed by the Treasury Solicitor for the Respondent
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