Compensation rules change


Victims of RUC wrongful arrest and false imprisonment will get less compensation in future, the Appeal Court in Belfast decreed yesterday. Judges changed the system for assessing compensation when they upheld an appeal by the Chief Constable and cut an award of £10,000 to £4,000.

The original award to Mr Thomas Dodds (45), from west Belfast, was assessed on an hourly rate formula which the courts have accepted since 1992. Under that system Mr Dodds received £600 an hour for the first 12 hours he was held (£7,200) and £400 for each of the remaining seven hours (£2,800), making a total of £10,000. But the court held that such an approach was "too arithmetical."

Lord Justice MacDermott said while it was helpful to have a starting figure for the first hour, it was more helpful to view the first day in the round and allow an appropriate sum for whatever the period may be. He said that in future the figure of £600 for the first hour would be retained but for a 24-hour period the award would be between £4,000 and £5,000.