Law reforms: The cases that prompted commission's action

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The Independent Online

Christopher Clunis
Clunis, a schizophrenic who had been released into the community, killed Jonathan Zito while he was waiting for a London Underground train. Clunis sued Camden health authority for failing to care for him properly before the tragedy, claiming that although police were concerned about his condition, the health authority did nothing effective to treat or restrain him. The Court of Appeal disagreed.

Ted Newbery
A successful claim for compensation was brought against Newbery, 82, who shot a burglar after he broke into his shed. Repeatedly targeted by would-be thieves, Newbery had resorted to sleeping at the allotment to watch over his prized tomatoes with a shotgun. The High Court ruled that he had acted in a way that was "disproportionately violent" and ordered Newbery to pay £4,000 compensation to the burglar.

Tony Martin
The family of the burglar killed by the Norfolk farmer Tony Martin is seeking compensation through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority. Fred Barras, 16, was shot dead by Martin at his home two years ago. Martin was jailed for life, despite public sympathy for his actions. Under the current law, direct legal action against Martin for personal injury damages would likely be thrown out by the courts.