Letter: Unfair to the victims

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The Independent Online
Sir: Sixteen speakers in the House of Lords debate on 3 March were against the tariff-based scheme for compensating victims of violent crime that the Government is to institute on April Fool's Day ('Lawyers to test criminal injuries changes', 10 March). The seventeenth, and last, speaker supported it; he was the Government man.

The scheme is bad because it is unfair. It will reduce grotesquely the compensation given to the more seriously injured. It is bad because it abandons the common law basis of individual assessment of need that has been in force for 30 years and that Parliament approved in the Criminal Justice Act 1988. Bad also is the Government's attempt to frustrate the intention of Parliament expressed in the 1988 Act that compensation for criminal injuries should be put on a statutory footing.

For the 70,000 who apply annually for compensation this is a serious matter; for those grievously injured by criminal violence and their dependents it is disastrous; for the nation it is unconscionable.

Yours faithfully,

R. C. H. BRIGGS

Coombe Bissett, Wiltshire

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