Two “extraordinarily damaged” siblings who could have avoided a decade of “appalling” abuse if they had been put up for adoption as babies will receive a “substantial” pay-out from the States – but the exact amount given is being kept confidential.
The States’ insurers will foot the bill for the compensation award, which will take the form of one-off “lump sums” as well as annual payments for the rest of the siblings’ lives to cover the ongoing 24-hour care they both require as a result of the abuse they endured.
This resolution between the siblings’ lawyers and the team acting on behalf of the Health Minister has brought the lengthy and complicated trial to a close in what was initially expected to be one of the largest personal injury claims in UK legal history.
Pictured: The case had revolved around the size and nature of the compensation award to the siblings.
In a weeks-long trial starting in August, lawyers representing the siblings had called for over £100million in compensation each, while the States argued that the pair should only receive £14million between them - 17 times less than the total requested sum.
However, the final agreed sum is being kept hidden, with the siblings’ lawyers stating that this is for privacy reasons.
At the heart of the siblings’ claim was the fact that a previous Health Minister did not put them up for adoption as babies in the late 1990s, leaving them to suffer a decade of serious physical and sexual assaults at the hands of an unknown number of adults.
As a result, the pair, who have remained anonymous throughout the proceedings, now suffer mental health difficulties and require costly, round-the-clock care in UK institutions. The damage done to one was said to be so severe that she had to be sectioned.
Pictured: The then Health Minister's decision not to take the children into care resulted in them facing a decade of harrowing physical and sexual abuse in their own home.
As the case came to a close yesterday, the current Health Minister, Deputy Richard Renouf, expressed remorse over the States’ actions and the suffering the children had gone through.
“This is a terrible case of abuse against two siblings whom the States of Jersey deeply regrets failing to remove from a damaging environment,” he commented.
“We accepted liability for the damage that this failure to remove them has caused to their health and welfare, and our obligations to ensure that these young people can be properly looked after for the rest of their lives.
“This case was never about the principle of funding the care of the claimants, but about the appropriate level of funding… I am pleased that agreement has been reached on a settlement that will fund appropriate lifetime care and I hope it does provide them with the assurance that they will receive all the specialist care they need.”
Pictured: Current Health Minister Deputy Richard Renouf issued an official statement on behalf of the States of Jersey following the "terrible" case's conclusion.
Advocate David Benest, who represented the siblings with Advocate Jeremy Heywood, told the Royal Court that he was “pleased” both parties had been able to “reach a resolution.”
Advocate Lee Ingram, acting on behalf of the Health Minister, added that the matter was dealt with “amicably” and that the final solution meant that the siblings “will have financial security for the remainder of their lives, and that is obviously paramount."
Royal Court Commissioner Pamela Scriven QC presided over the case, sitting with Jurats Paul Nicolle and Sally Sparrow.
Handing down her judgement, the Commissioner noted that “it should have been obvious that [the siblings] needed protection”, describing the fact they were left in their abusive home environment as a “profound failure of social work practice."
Pictured: The lengthy and complicated trial took place in the Royal Court and finally came to a close this week with the announcement of a settlement.
The Commissioner added that “these two young people have been extraordinarily damaged” and the consequences of the abuse they suffered will “stay with them for the rest of their lives."
After congratulating the lawyers on reaching an amicable resolution, the Commissioner said that she and the Jurats had “no hesitation in making the order” for the compensation to be granted.
Although the amount for both the one-off payments and the annual payments were agreed by both parties, it was decided that the sums would not be mentioned in open court.
After the hearing, Advocate Benest explained to Express that the decision was taken to “maintain confidentiality to protect the [siblings]”, adding that it was a measure aimed at “protecting their future” and ensuring they have the “privacy to move on and live their lives."
Advocate Ingram added that the money for the pay-out would not come out of the public purse, but would not disclose the exact source of the money. Later, a States spokesperson confirmed to Express: “The States of Jersey’s insurance arrangements will fully meet the settlement reached.”
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