19 MAR 2014
Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority v First-Tier Tribunal (Social Entitlement Chamber) and TS  EWCA Civ 65; (2014) APIL 010
The CICA appealed against a decision that the offence committed by the dog owner was a crime of violence.
3 February 2014
Court of Appeal: Moore-Bick LJ, Tomlinson LJ and McCombe LJ
The claimant aged 14 had been riding his bicycle down a residential pavement when he was approached aggressively by a small dog which had escaped from its owner's garden. The claimant attempted to avoid the dog and swerved into the road when he was struck by a car and suffered serious injuries.
The CICA rejected the claimant's claim. However, the First Tier Tribunal upheld his appeal. They found that the claimant's injuries were sustained as a direct ‘crime of violence' therefore the claimant was awarded £499,000. The CICA appealed and succeeded.
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The CICA submitted that this was not a crime of violence despite the dog owner being aware that the dog had previously attempted to escape and was aggressive towards strangers.
The fact that the dog was known to be aggressive had weighed with both the First Tier and Upper Tribunals, but it was not sufficient to enable the crime to be characterised as a crime of violence any more than would be the case of an unfenced machine known to be dangerous.
Injuries by dog attacks appear to be on the increase. The CICA's success means that there will sadly be no compensation for these victims who will often suffer horrific injuries in these terrible circumstances as this case demonstrates.
Sandra De Souza, Anthony Gold