UK Court to set damages in Priest Abuse Cases

by diamondblue1974 0 Replies latest watchtower child-abuse

  • diamondblue1974

    My firm has access to a legal updates on Human Rights issues and child protection, I thought you might be interested to hear what the following article has said given that it could have an impact on the damages awarded to UK victims of abuse at the hands of the WTS.

    Court to set damages in priest child abuse case
    For the first time the High Court is due to set damages for child abused by a Roman Catholic priest. Stephen Ward talks to John Housden, partner in Clifton Ingram and solicitor for the claimant, about why he believes the case will lay the ground rules for future claims...

    Next month the High Court is due to set damages for the first time for a child abused by a Roman Catholic priest in a case which according to his solicitor will lay ground rules for many more cases which are pending. John Housden, partner in Clifton Ingram, solicitor for the claimant who is now an adult identified only as 'A', says there is still a big gap between the offer which is based on low pay-outs to victims of abuse in care homes, and the claim which is on the same basis as any personal injury claim including loss of future earnings to the age of 65.

    ?The reasoning in care home cases must be that the children had already been damaged in some way before the abuse took place because they were in care homes and not with their families. But in this case the man?s brothers and sisters have all had relatively successful adult lives, and there is no reason to assume he would not have been able to command a salary in line with those siblings had the abuse not taken place.?

    The victim 'A' is claiming damages against the Diocese of Birmingham for sex abuse between the ages of eight and 18 by a priest who is now dead, Father Christopher Clonan. Catholic dioceses in Britain have admitted liability for sex abuse cases in the past, but damages claims have been settled out of court.

    The Birmingham archdiocese has admitted liability for 'A', but arguments have continued over causation and damage. It has said that it would not comment until the judge had delivered his ruling.

    Another of Clonan's victims advised by Housden, Simon Grey, a former altar boy, brought a similar claim in the High Court in 2003, and the Diocese agreed an out-of-court settlement of £330,000. Mr Housden is pursuing six other claims - four of which involve Clonan. Pannone and Partners has 20 cases involving dioceses across the country.

    'A' now suffers from schizophrenia and post-traumatic stress disorder and requires 24-hour care, Housden says.

    The Diocese has made offers, ?but we are significantly apart on the figures?, Housden says. He says the judge will have to decide issues relating to the claimant?s past and future employability, what sort of accommodation he will need and whether it needs full or part-time supervision to be included.

    ?There are also issues in relation to the need for him to appoint a receiver to handle his finances. They say he is capable of handling his own affairs, we say the medical evidence is to the contrary,? Housden says.

    ?Essentially a lot of these cases revolve around their own facts, the ability to work and so on. But we hope in future cases the Church will be prepared to take a realistic view over damages.

    ?They have been inclined to look at the rather smaller range of damages in care cases, where the damages have been surprisingly small. We say the correct approach is to apply a multiplier rather than a lump sum as in these care cases. You quickly ratchet up quite a lot.?

    Lexis Nexis UK.

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