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Last Updated: Monday, 19 September 2005, 13:26 GMT 14:26 UK
Criminal injury payouts 'too low'
scales of justice
The payouts are based on a fixed scale of compensation
Lawyers for a boy severely injured in an attack are calling for a dramatic increase in the top level of government compensation payable in criminal cases.

Ewan Marrin got 500,000 after he was left partially paralysed and blind in one eye by his mother's ex- boyfriend.

His lawyers say the sum is not adequate for the seven year-old's lifetime care.

They say personal injury cases in the civil courts can attract three times the top Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme payout Ewan received.

"Innocent victims of crime like Ewan receive a lot less than people with similar injuries who can make a civil claim against an insurance company after, say, an accident at work or a road accident," said solicitor Michael Laffey.

The case was backed by the Durham branch of the National Union of Mineworkers, which brought the case for compensation through a trade union law firm.

Tough on crime?

Ewan, of Houghton-le-Spring, County Durham, was six months old at the time of the attack.

He was awarded 500,000 under the scheme's fixed scale of compensation.

Mr Laffey, of Thompsons Solicitors in South Shields, is calling for the upper limits of criminal injury compensation to be increased.

"On the one hand the government wants to be seen as tough on crime, but on the other they are not prepared to properly compensate the innocent victims of crime," he said.

The Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme is run by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority and funded by the Home Office.

The Home Office has said the scheme, which pays out more than 200m a year, is one of the most generous in the world.


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