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Injured driver fails in suicide compensation bid

A driver severely injured in a crash triggered by a suicidal man walking in front of a lorry failed in his bid to win criminal injuries at the Supreme Court today.

Gareth Jones claimed that Barry Hughes committed a "crime against the person" when he stepped in front of a lorry and was killed on the M25 in January 2005. The lorry that hit Mr Hughes then swerved and hit Mr Jones, who was severely injured and required full-time care.

His lawyers argued Mr Hughes could have foreseen his actions might cause harm to someone else and was guilty of inflicting grievous bodily harm. They argued Mr Jones was entitled to compensation from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA).

The Supreme Court disagreed.


Relatives fought for Supreme Court hearing

The families of soldiers who have been killed in battle fought to take the human rights' fight to the Supreme Court.

Sue Smith, 51, of Tamworth, Staffordshire, whose son Private Phillip Hewett, 21, was killed seven years ago, wept outside the Court of Appeal in October and described the Ministry of Defence's attitude as "despicable".

It is just so dismissive. It 'doesn't matter': they are Action Men; if you break them, just bury them. But they are not just Action Men. People need to make a stand.

– Sue Smith

Insurance firm welcomes 'clarity' over asbestos ruling

Municipal Mutual Insurance is one of four insurance firms involved in the asbestos legal action. In a statement it said:

Whilst the ruling does not reflect MMI's favoured outcome, we welcome the clarity this judgment brings as it enables MMI to determine the extent of its liabilities... It should be noted that MMI has continued to compensate local authority employers for mesothelioma claims, despite not being obliged to pay out claims until the outcome of the case was known.


'Mixed emotions' after asbestos ruling

Leslie Screach died in 2003 after being exposed to asbestos fibres. Today his daughter Ruth Durham said she still had mixed emotions:

I am delighted to hear of the court's decision which will now see justice done for my father and the other mesothelioma sufferers. I was determined to see this through with a positive outcome for all those who, like my dad, suffered so terribly because of someone else's negligence. I miss him every day and no sum of money will ever bring him back or make up for what he went through.

Asbestos ruling provides 'clarity and comfort'

Lawyer Helen Ashton said today's ruling provided "clarity and comfort" for families of mesothelioma victims. She represented the lead claimant in the case:

As well as the people currently directly affected by asbestos related disease, this judgment means that the thousands of people who are yet to be given the devastating news that they have the deadly illness will at least know that their families can get access to justice and receive the financial security they need. But the sad fact is that many victims of mesothelioma who have been awaiting the outcome of this appeal may not have lived long enough to know if their families will now receive the compensation they deserve.

'Long battle' ends for families of asbestos victims

All I ever prayed for was the right decision. This is the right decision. I am delighted for all those families who have been awaiting this result. My dad worked all his life and was hoping to enjoy retirement before mesothelioma took him away. There was never any question about who was to blame - all this long battle was about was insurers wanting to get out of paying. It is very difficult for us to understand the insurance industry's attitude to dying people, an attitude that the Government is going to make worse.

– Maureen Edwards, daughter of Charles O'Farrell who died in 2003
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