UK: Toddler hit by playmate gets payout

AP News
Posted: Nov 13, 2009 9:55 AM

A young boy who was attacked by his 3-year-old playmate with a car jack can claim compensation from a British government body that helps crime victims, lawyers said Friday.

Jay Jones needed stitches to his face and spent two days in the hospital in 2007 after another toddler struck him 11 times on the head, lawyers representing the injured boy's family said in a statement. The two boys, both 3 years old at the time of the attack, were left unattended in a locked family car.

Jones was rescued when his attacker's parents heard his screams, the lawyers said. His mother said the attack was so violent that the car's windscreen was cracked, the statement said.

The mother appealed after a government authority that grants compensation for victims of violent crimes refused to pay her. The authority said the attack was an "accident," and argued that a 3-year-old was too young to be the perpetrator of a violent crime. The family appealed through a tribunal system that allows the public to protest government decisions.

David Kirwan, a lawyer for Jones' family, said a tribunal judge ruled in their favor Tuesday after they argued that the age of the perpetrator was irrelevant when claiming compensation.

"To batter somebody ferociously with a car jack and to put their life in danger is a criminal act, whether you're 3 or 33," he said.

The age of criminal responsibility in England, Wales and Northern Ireland is 10.

Jones' mother, Renai Williams, said the attacker has since been taken into social care. The boy cannot be named for legal reasons.

"To this day I still have no idea why that boy attacked my son," she was quoted as saying in the statement from her lawyers.

A judge will decide how much compensation Jones will be awarded at another date.