Man claims changes made to scheme’s time limits amounts to unlawful interference

Aodhan O’Faolain
Stabbing victim challenges refusal
The court was told that Philip Bowes had been unaware of the State-run scheme to compensate victims of crime.

A man who was stabbed by an unknown attacker has brought a High Court challenge over his exclusion from a State scheme that compensates victims of violent crime.

The action has been taken by Philip Bowes who was seriously injured when he was attacked and stabbed in the flats complex where he lives in Dublin on December 27th 2018.

His attacker, a male who remains unknown to him, stabbed him several times with a knife. Mr Bowes was taken to hospital, where he remained for approximately two weeks.

He is still recovering from the mental and physical impact of the attack on him.

In June 2021 Mr Bowes applied for compensation under the ‘Scheme of Compensation for Personal Injuries Criminally Inflicted.’

However, his application was refused by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Tribunal, the body which administers the scheme, because it was made outside the allowed time limit.

In High Court judicial review proceedings Mr Bowes claims that decision, made last July, is unlawful and is in breach of fair procedures and fair and natural justice.

Represented by Michael Conlon SC instructed by solicitor Brian Burns, Mr Bowes from the Oliver Bond Flats, in Dublin 8 claims that in April 2021 the Tribunal “unilaterally changed” the terms of the scheme.

The scheme had been operated in a manner that allowed victims make an application within a period of three months from the date of their injury, counsel said.

That time period could be extended if the Tribunal believed that any application outside of the three-month period was exceptional.

There was no upper limit on the tribunal’s discretion to extend time in any individual case, counsel added.

However last April the terms of the scheme were changed with the introduction of an absolute limit of two years from the time of the injury for the making of an application.

Mr Bowes made an application to be included in the scheme in June 2021, counsel said. Prior to that he had not been aware of the existence of the possibility to make an application for compensation under the scheme.

Counsel said that what the Tribunal had done effectively amounts to a retrospective unlawful interference with Mr Bowes right to be compensated for his injuries.

In his action against the Criminal Injuries Compensation Tribunal, the Minister for Justice, Ireland and the Attorney General, Mr Bowes seeks an order from the High Court quashing the refusal to consider his application to be included in the scheme.

He also seeks a declaration that the Tribunal unlawfully fettered its discretion when it made changes to the scheme in April 2021, including implementing an absolute two-year time period.

He seeks further declarations including that the way the Tribunal has administered the scheme since April 2021 breaches the legal principals of effectiveness, and equivalence and that the scheme is non-retroactive in relation to his application for inclusion.

Permission to bring the challenge was granted by Mr Justice Anthony Barr. The judge made the matter returnable to a date next month.