In the April 2006 Law Bulletin we mentioned our successful case of Paterson -v- Tees and North East Yorkshire NHS Trust. The claimant had been assaulted by a patient in a psychiatric unit.

The Court of Appeal has refused the defendants application to appeal. Lady Justice Smith found that the recorder was entitled to conclude that the evidence of the assailant’s behaviour prior to the assault – be it the months of previous behaviour or the specific verbal abuse on the day of the assault – was sufficient to create a finding of negligence by the Recorder in this case.

It was negligent of staff to fail to pass onto the claimant that he had been the subject of specific verbal abuse by the patient prior to the assault so that he might guard against a future assault.

Paterson -v- Tees and North East Yorkshire NHS Trust

Harassment and the CICA

The claimant had been subject to harassment from an unknown person for two years. These included threatening phone calls, condolence cards sent in respect of his young daughter who was alive and well and his car had acid thrown over it on two different occasions.

He had to move house and could not carry on working and had taken ill health retirement as a result of the stress caused by the harassment.

No one was ever convicted for the harassment. The CICA turned down the claim twice on the basis the client was not placed in any immediate or physical harm. There was no crime of violence, they said. The police had acted only on the damage to the car as a criminal damage matter.

On appeal the claim was allowed and the panel said the circumstances had put the claimant in reasonable fear for his safety and that he was in immediate physical danger.

R -v- Ireland (House of Lords) 1997 was referred to.

Ellison -v- CICA. York House, 5 April 2006.