Father avoids paying for attack over drugs

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The Independent Online

A father won a court fight yesterday to avoid paying compensation to a man he attacked in the belief that he was dealing drugs to his sons.

At a court case last Friday, Roger Dorrington was ordered to pay £250 to James White after he admitted causing the 24-year-old actual bodily harm in June 2001. Mr Dorrington had claimed the compensation would pay for more drugs.

Yesterday Judge Griffiths agreed it would have been "inappropriate" to make Mr Dorrington honour the order.

Sitting at Southampton Crown Court, Judge Griffiths said he had struggled with increasing doubts about the appropriateness of the order to pay compensation since he had imposed it.

"It seems to me that on the basis of the plea that was put before me by the defence and prosecution, I wish I had asked counsel to address me on the appropriateness of the order and if they had done so, it should have been clear to me that in the particular circumstances of this case a compensation order was not appropriate. I acknowledge now I should not have made that order and I rescind it."

Mr Dorrington's defence lawyer, Giles Curtis-Raleigh, told the court his client believed Mr White had been selling drugs to his sons Nicholas, 20, and Joseph, 21, when he assaulted him 15 times in Blissford, Hampshire, causing cuts and bruises.

Mr Dorrington had banned Mr White from his home before he found him on his property on the day of the attack.

At last week's hearing, the court heard how Mr Dorrington had been trying to wean his two sons away from their heroin addictions at the time Mr White was attacked. They are now off heroin.

Nicholas lives in America, while Joseph successfully completed a drug treatment order last month.

Speaking after the judge rescinded his order, Mr Dorrington said: "I am happy with the situation and the judge's comments."

Mr Dorrington will still be obliged to carry out 100 hours of community punishment.