On 28 May 2011, the Appellant was at home reading the newspaper. Three men, forced their way into the house. There had been a history of animosity between the Appellant and one of the three men. An altercation occurred and the three men assaulted the Appellant.
The Appellant made a claim for criminal injuries compensation. In his application, he claimed that he had suffered physical injuries in the form of bruising and swelling to his back and behind his right ear. The Appellant also claimed that he suffered Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) as a result of the attack on him. His claim for criminal injuries compensation also included a claim for loss of earning capacity arising from the alleged PTSD.
In April 2016, the Chief Assessor of the Office of Criminal Injuries Compensation (Chief Assessor) awarded the Appellant the sum of $24,601 for injuries sustained in the assault, medical reports and future psychological treatment expenses but no economic loss.
The Appellant appealed against this assessment on the grounds that the Chief Assessor failed to give sufficient weight to the evidence of psychological trauma and failed to give consideration to any economic loss.
Pursuant to provisions in the Criminal Injuries Compensation Act 2003 (WA) (the Act), the District Court must decide the application on appeal afresh on the evidence and information that was in the possession of the Chief Assessor but may also receive further evidence and information. The District Court is not fettered by the Chief Assessor’s decision.
The Appeal began in January 2017.
The Appellant presented additional documentation on the hearing of the appeal. This additional documentation consisted of the following:
- Income tax returns and notices of assessment;
- Payment summaries from the Australian Taxation Office;
- A facsimile from the Department of Human Services to the Appellant’s legal representatives containing Centrelink claim history and payment information;
- Records from the Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital; and
- An affidavit of the Appellant.
Although the Chief Assessor was not prepared to allow any award for loss of earnings because in her opinion the Appellant’s capacity to work was influenced by many non-compensable stressors. She was further not provided with sufficient information to enable her to make any proper estimate of the contribution, if any, of the incident to his loss of earnings. On the subsequent information provided the Appellant would have earned approximately $50,000 per annum in the two years following the incident.
Based upon the above, the Appellant’s award was increased to the maximum sum allowable in terms of the act, namely $75,000.
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