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Compensation claims by criminals ‘wrong’

Saturday 31st December 2011 (Andrew Griffiths)

COMPENSATION claims made by crooks who injure themselves while committing crimes must be stopped, Burton’s MP has claimed.

The rise of ‘no win-no fee’ lawyers has seen criminals make claims against the Government for injuries sustained while committing offences or while in prison.

Every year offenders claim around £5 million from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority.

Justice Secretary Ken Clarke has now pledged to make sure this money is directed towards victims of crime rather than offenders.

Legal aid money is often claimed to fund criminals’ court action against the prison authorities.

The current system has seen compensation pay-outs handed to burglars who hurt themselves fleeing a break-in.

Tory backbencher Andrew Griffiths said: “Nobody wants to prevent legitimate compensation claims, but for too long we have had a system which protects the criminal and not the victim.

“I think these changes begin to redress the balance on the side of the victim.” Mr Griffiths said many claims made by criminals under the Human Rights Act were also wrong.

He said: “I think most right-minded people are appalled when they see hardened criminals suing the Government because their so-called ‘human rights’ have been infringed.

“Ridiculous claims, such as being denied access to pornography while in prison, and seeking damages are an abomination.

“I am glad that the Government is bringing some common sense back to the system.”

Mr Griffiths, who serves on Parliament’s constitutional reform select committee, has previously spoken in favour of repealing the Human Rights Act and replacing it with a British bill of rights.

The MP, who was elected in 2010, has previously been vocal on the issue of prisoner rights.

He went against the Government in a Commons vote on whether inmates should be allowed to take part in General Elections.

In total, 340 inmates made successful claims for injuries resulting in pay-outs and costs of £3.1 million last year. More than 3,000 prisoners made claims.

Official figures show that three prisoners got pay-outs of more than £100,000 while one inmate received £500,000.

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