CICA concedes chase by gunmen is traumatic

01 June 2009

ASLEF needed to take the case of Driver Quncy Oji to an Appeal before the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) would concede that being chased down an underground tunnel, dropped to the floor and threatened by armed men is a traumatic experience that merits compensation.

 

This is precisely what happened to Driver Oji on 22 July 2005. He was driving the tube train on which Jean Charles de Menezes was shot dead by heavily-armed specialist firearms police at Stockwell Station. The doors remained open and the train remained in the platform – while understandably Quncy took to his heels. He was pursued by armed police who waved guns in his face as he lay on the ground. Thompsons Solicitors, who handled the case for the union, argued that Driver Oji should be compensated for the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) he suffered as a result of the experience.

 

The CICA resisted compensating the driver on the grounds that he was not the victim of a violent crime, because a crime had not happened, and that he was some distance from the shootings so would not have feared physical harm.

 

‘I have never come across such spurious arguments to avoid paying compensation to someone who clearly deserves recompense,’ said ASLEF general secretary Keith Norman. ‘I’m delighted that we finally have recognition of the trauma our member suffered, even if the £1,000 we have secured hardly reflects what Driver Oji has endured.

 

‘It does make you wonder about the mega-cautious approach of CICA. Small wonder that it is often viewed as an uncaring and vindictive outfit.’

 

Andrew Hutson, the Thomspons solicitor who worked on the case, agreed. ‘To my mind it would have been a grave injustice if the CICA had got away with refusing to offer any compensation, but that was certainly its intention. At least this successful appeal acknowledges the stresses endured by Driver Oji since the terrible events of four years ago.’

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