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Taxi driver injured in attack denied compensation because he defended himself

07/12/2011

From thisisgrimsby.co.uk

A TAXI driver who has been left permanently disfigured after a teenager bit off his ear will not get any criminal injury compensation – because he defended himself during the attack.

Trevor Blyth, 52, of Manor Avenue, Grimsby, says he has "lost faith" in the justice system after the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) ruled he was not eligible.

​Mr Blyth made his claim after Luke Donner bit off his ear and smashed his taxi window in Somerfield car park, Grimsby, last February.

The 17-year-old shouted at Mr Blyth, who replied with an offensive gesture, and then Donner smashed the taxi’s window, which shattered glass over an elderly passenger.

Mr Blyth got out of his taxi to confront him, as reported, grabbing Donner by his clothing. Donner then bit off his ear.

The teenager, of Ings Lane, Immingham, was sentenced to three-and-a-half years in prison for causing grievous bodily harm with intent.

The CICA ruled that Mr Blyth getting out of the car was an "antagonising" feature and rejected the claim.

He said: "I am so angry about it. It has made me feel like I was in the wrong, when all I was doing was defending myself and passenger. I have lost faith in the system.

"When someone puts a fist through your car windscreen and shatters glass all over you and the passenger, what are you supposed to do? I don’t believe anyone would sit there and do nothing.

"They have made me feel like it is my fault I was attacked."

Criminal injury compensation is funded by the Government and is paid to victims who have been physically or mentally injured because they were the "blameless victim of a violent crime".

They pay out anything between £1,000 to £500,000, but can refuse claim if the claimant has a criminal record or if their behaviour before, during or after the incident was deemed a factor in the incident.

Mr Blyth plans to appeal the decision, not only because of the physical injury, but because he lost £3,500 in wages as he could not work for weeks. As a result, he is in debt and wanted to use the compensation to pay it.

As reported, he underwent two major operations to reconstruct his ear, and is contemplating further surgery.

He said: "When Donner was jailed, all I wanted was to move forward with my life, but this means I can’t.

"The money is Government-funded and I have worked all my life, but now they are refusing me money that I thought I was entitled to. I needed the money to get back on my feet.

"I am working all hours just to make ends meet and try to buy my daughter a Christmas present.

"I am living with a permanent disfigurement. I have to watch and listen when people are in the back of my taxi. They point at it and talk about what might have happened. I would rather them just ask me.

"Before the attack I quite liked taxi driving, but now I hate it. I just have no choice but to do it. It has changed my whole outlook on everything."

A CICA spokesperson said: "We express our sympathy to all victims of crime and their families.

"We consider all available evidence in reaching our decisions, including relevant witness statements and, where appropriate, what was said in court. If the evidence shows the victim’s behaviour contributed significantly to the incident they were injured in then we have to take that into account.

"To ensure our application of the scheme is as robust as possible there are safeguards built in. If any applicant does not think their case was assessed fairly they may apply to have it reviewed. If they remain unhappy after the review they can appeal to an independent tribunal."

DENIED COMPENSATION:  Taxi driver Trevor Blyth who had his ear bitten off in a violent attack, will not be compensated by criminal injuries.   Picture: Rick Byrne

DENIED COMPENSATION: Taxi driver Trevor Blyth who had his ear bitten off in a violent attack, will not be compensated by criminal injuries. Picture: Rick Byrne

http://www.thisisgrimsby.co.uk/Taxi-driver-injured-attack-denied-compensation/story-14069110-detail/story.html

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