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United Kingdom : Ford sets the record straight on compensation.

Justice Minister David Ford has told the Assembly that despite recent media reports, the compensation paid to the family of the late Kieran Doherty was in line with the 2009 Criminal Injury Tariff Scheme.

While the Scheme does not debar automatically those who are members of or have links to terrorist organisations, the Scheme enables unspent criminal convictions and character to be taken into account when considering claims for compensation. In fatal cases, this provision applies to both the deceased victim and the applicant, usually a member of the family.

David Ford said; It is clear that there has been some confusion around the payment of compensation, leading to inaccurate media reports. The 2009 Criminal Injury Tariff Scheme sets a limit for bereavement awards. For one eligible claimant the award is Au11,000, and for two or more eligible claimants the award is Au5,500 per claimant, nowhere near the figures suggested in some media reports.

The Doherty case was considered by the Department of Justice s Compensation Services in accordance with its normal policies and procedures which have been in place since 2002. The claims from Mr Doherty s mother and grandmother were denied and the family appealed the decision to the independent Criminal Injuries Compensation Appeal Panel. The Panel considered the evidence at an oral hearing and reversed the decision taken by Compensation Services by awarding both claimants a bereavement award and funeral expenses to Mr Doherty s mother, reduced by 50% on account of Mr Doherty s unspent criminal conviction.

As Minister of Justice I have no power to interfere in the decision of an independent Appeal Panel, nor do I have any power to stop the payment of any compensation awarded by the Panel.

The Minister went on to update the Assembly on the review of the Criminal Injuries Scheme, which had been publicised through the recently launched Strategy for Victims and Witnesses. David Ford said; Already my Department has engaged with a number of victims groups and representatives to talk about the current provision for compensation. Next summer I intend to publish a consultation paper to ensure all who have a view will have the opportunity to put those forward to inform proposals for new legislation.

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Publication:Mena Report
Date:Sep 13, 2013
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