McHale & Co. Solicitors Blog

Messing about is dangerous!

A group of teenagers were messing about in a garage firing air pellets towards cans on a bench.

One of the lads discharged all 6 pellets from his air rifle and then pointed it at his friend in jovial manner and then pulled trigger by mistake.

The friend was hit in the eye and lost the sight in that eye. The police were called and were satisfied that it was all a big mistake and no crime had occurred.

However an application was submitted to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authorities (CICA) which compensate innocent victims of crimes of violence.

Our client was an innocent victim but the application was turned down on the basis it was not a crime of violence.

I appealed to a 3 member committee chaired by a well known former senior partner of a Manchester City firm on the basis that whilst it was not a crime of violence it was indeed a reckless act which should amount to gross negligence and criminal responsibility. This argument was accepted by the other 2 members of the appeal tribunal but the chairman then wanted to limit the applicant to £23,500 which was the tariff sum at the time for loss of one eye. I asked for the case to be adjourned for 6 months to enable me to obtain ophthalmic and employment reports and show the effect the loss of one eye would have on his future working at the airport where full sight is a requisite for most jobs and also the penetrating eye injury made it possible that he would at some future date suffer from sympathetic opthalmia (blindness – obviously devastating). The case went back for a full hearing and a significant six figure sum was awarded! He can also apply for an enhanced award if the sympathetic opthalmia develops.