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  • June 15, 2018

Victim of a violent assault prevails with further compensation on appeal.

Victim of a violent assault prevails with further compensation on appeal.

ROBERTSON V HOPWOOD [2018] WADC 66

It is uncontentious that on the day of the incident, the respondent (Mr Hopwood) was at the Inglewood Hotel watching a rugby match from about 6.00 pm and that the appellant (Mr Robertson) was also there.

It is also uncontentious that the Mr Hopwood had known the offender for approximately 10 years, as a work colleague and once a friend, but that the two had fallen out before the incident over some work contracts. Their work environment was quite toxic.

The CCTV footage of the incident shows the Mr Hopwood and his friend on their way out of the hotel. Mr Hopwood’s attention was drawn by a call from a woman, Sarah, who he knew and who was Mr Robertson’s sister. Mr Hopwood stopped to talk to Sarah. He spoke to her for less than a minute. There is nothing in the CCTV footage to suggest that the conversation was anything other than amicable and short.

As Mr Hopwood then turned to leave, he saw Mr Robertson and some brief words were exchanged.

Mr Hopwood and a friend then exchanged some words and Mr Robertson’s friend grabbed Mr Hopwood by the arm.

Mr Hopwood’s written statement states that he remembers exchanging words with Mr Robertson and his friends but did not remember what those words were. His next recollection was being in an ambulance and later at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital.

Mr Hopwood in this matter had brought a cross-appeal applying for the Criminal Injuries Compensation assessor’s decision to be increased on the basis that the allowance “for general damages; past and future loss of income as well as past and future treatment expenses were too low”. Mr Hopwood sought to be paid the maximum award of compensation of $75,000.

The Criminal Injuries Compensation Assessor, by a compensation award dated 6 November 2015, awarded Mr Hopwood the sum of $49,041.11 compensation (the award) for the injuries and losses that the assessor was satisfied he had suffered as a consequence of the incident.

The Criminal Injuries Compensation assessor was satisfied that Mr Hopwood had been injured in the commission of a proven offence and the application was there for properly brought pursuant to s 12 of the Criminal Injuries Compensation Act. In the course of her decision, the Criminal Injuries Compensation assessor also considered whether any award should be reduced because, at one stage during the incident, Mr Hopwood had head-butted Mr Robinson.

There are specific heads of loss defined in s 6 of the Criminal Injuries Compensation Act to include:

  • expenses actually and reasonably incurred by or on behalf of the victim –
    • that arise directly from; or
    • that arise in obtaining any report from a health professional or a counsellor in relation to, the injury suffered by the victim; or
  • expenses that are likely to be reasonably incurred by or on behalf of the victim for treatment that the victim is likely to need as a direct consequence of the injury suffered by the victim; or
  • loss of earnings suffered by the victim as a direct consequence of the injury suffered by the victim;
  • any loss arising from any damage caused as a direct consequence of the commission of the offence to any personal item that was being worn by the victim when he or she suffered the injury.

On reflection the judge stated “Accordingly, I am prepared to award the respondent (Mr Hopwood) compensation in the sum of $75,000 being the statutory maximum and which is made up of the sum of $40,000 in general damages and so much of the losses under 6(2)(a) to take it up to the statutory maximum”.

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