(CME  WADC 69)
On 4 April 2017 the appellant, CME, applied pursuant to s 17 of the Criminal Injuries Compensation Act 2003 (WA) (the Act) for criminal injuries compensation in respect of injuries she sustained in an alleged assault occurring on 4 July 2015.
CME alleges that she was walking across an oval in Albany carrying a pie and a bag of chips when she was approached by two females asking for money. After a brief discussion the assailants knocked the pie out of her hand, punched her in the stomach, grabbed her ponytail, pulled her head up and then punched her on the left side of the face. As a result of this incident she suffered pain and injury.
The matter was not reported to the police until 27 April 2016 (almost one year later). No person was charged as a result of the incident. On 28 June 2017 the assessor for criminal injuries compensation provisionally determined the application and finally determined on 31 July 2017 to refuse the application on the basis that the delay in reporting the matter to the police was not reasonable. CME appealed from that decision. The appeal was lodged within time.
Was CME the victim of a criminal offence?
After deliberation the Court stated that it was “… satisfied on the balance of probabilities that CME suffered bodily harm…defined by law to be a bodily injury of such a nature as to interfere with health or comfort…. [and was] satisfied that the injury she sustained, essentially a fracture of the orbital floor, interfered with her health or comfort”.
CME has had other numerous claims for criminal injuries compensation and has only claimed where she was able to identify the offender, unlike this case. The Court stated that “…Her subjective belief that if she could not identify the offender there was effectively nothing to tell the police and therefore no point in making a report is a belief I find that she genuinely held”.
The medical evidence established that CME suffered a left orbital floor fracture which caused numbness to the left side of her face.
A clinical psychologist who saw CME reported that CME’s “current psychological, emotional, cognitive and behavioural symptoms are likely to impede concentration and reduce her general performance” and indicated that in the short-term CME had reduced capacity to work but in the long-term her capacity would depend on her response to treatment. No award was made for this head of damage.
The court, after taken the above on board allowed the appeal and awarded CME the following:
- General damages – $30,000.00;
- Report expenses $3,300.00;
- Future medical treatment $5,192.50
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