Jonathan Austen-Jones – X – v – the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority
Jonathan Austen-Jones acted on behalf of the applicant in this case who was the subject of sexual abuse at the hands of his step-father between the ages of about 5 and 7.
An initial application for compensation pursuant to the 1990 Scheme was made in 1992 and in June 1996 he was awarded £10,000.00 in respect of the abuse he had suffered. This award was clearly too low and it appears that no psychiatric evidence was before the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA).
From the age of 13 the applicant started to suffer significant traumatic flashbacks which made him want to self harm and by the age of 18 the applicant suffered clinical depression at varying degrees of low mood, low self esteem, feelings of guilt and hopelessness, anger and suicidal ideation.
Multiple attempts were made to take his own life concluding in December 2004 with a clear suicidal intent, by shooting himself in the head. As a consequence of this he suffered a head injury with blindness and anosmia i.e loss of sense and taste. He did not lose consciousness but lost the vision in his eyes immediately.
The applicant had attempted, without success, to seek further legal advice in 2006 but his case was turned down by several prominent and well known personal injury firms in London and Sussex.
The outcome of the case
The applicant contacted Jonathan Austen-Jones in 2007 and he decided to take the case on, initially on a pro-bono basis to make an application to re-open the claim for compensation which was successful in March 2008.
An interim payment was awarded by the authority to fund the required medical reports from the RNIB and psychiatric evidence which in turn facilitated psychological treatment.
The applicant’s case was heard for final assessment in the summer of 2011 and he was awarded £200,000.00 for his injury with the authority making a gross award of over £1,200,000.00 inclusive of the applicant’s state benefits.
Jonathan then arranged a special needs trust to ensure that the applicant retained his means tested benefits and X’s future is now financially secure with the care and rehabilitation that he needs.
Jonathan continues to have frequent contact with the applicant as he acts as a trustee on his behalf.
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