An amnesiac jockey, CCTV and the CICA

News

27/04/2015

On 21 April 2015 Robert McAllister represented an ex jockey “C” in his successful appeal against the CICA’s refusal to make an award under the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme 2008. This is a likely high value case, with quantum yet to be determined.

C had been drinking in a pub in Newmarket during a lock in, but the tribunal accepted that nothing out of the ordinary was going on before C left. CCTV footage showed the assailant acting like a doorman (which he wasn’t) and barring C’s re-entry to the pub. C then went away for a little while and then came back into view of the CCTV, albeit a little distance away from the pub. The assailant then rushed towards C and pushed him to the ground.

C was later delivered to hospital by car by the assailant and two others and the driver gave a false name. Some account was given of the three having found C unconscious on a path or the road sometime later than the events on CCTV. C suffered a traumatic brain injury, was in a coma for several days and never regained any recollection of the events. He developed epilepsy and has been unable to work.

The case was complicated by the following overlapping features: the CICA made its decision and review decision without even viewing the CCTV; the CCTV only showed part of the scene of the assault – a hanging basket obscured some of the scene; the assailant alleged self-defence; the police report to the CCTV appeared to accept parts of the assailant’s account that C was found away from the pub and some time later; there was a possibility of a later event than that seen on CCTV.

Determined efforts by C’s solicitor Natalie Allen, of GLP solicitors, to procure maximum disclosure assisted in getting hold of the (ultimately helpful) CCTV and other police disclosure prior to the appeal hearing. Nevertheless yet further evidence was disclosed only at the hearing which incriminated the assailant, including the interview under caution of one of those who took C to hospital. It appeared that the police file had been archived until shortly before the hearing.

Ultimately the tribunal were able to find that the incident on CCTV involved C being pushed to the floor and during which his head struck the floor with sufficient force to cause the injuries complained of.

This case ought to serve as a reminder to practitioners that CICA decisions are not always made on the full evidence and, if so, successful challenges can be made. Moreover, sometimes the full facts aren’t clear until the day of the hearing despite the best efforts of those involved.

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