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Abuse Claim Goes Ahead

Posted on: May 5, 2009

A former city lawyer has won the right to bring a 5 million pound legal claim against a Jesuit-run school, Preston Catholic College, arising from alleged sexual abuse which occurred in the 1970’s.

Patrick Raggett who is 50 years old alleged sexual abuse at Preston Catholic College by the now deceased Father Spencer from around the age of 11 years old. The College Governors argued that even if the abuse had occurred Mr. Raggett was now “out of time” to bring his claim, in essence, his limitation period had expired.

The issues of limitation and liability where heard between 23 and 26 March 2009 before the High Court. In her judgement, Mrs. Justice Swift, said she had no doubt that Mr. Raggett had suffered “sustained” sexual abuse from the age of 11 years old and ruled that Mr. Raggett’s claim could proceed forward.

In respect of limitation, Mr. Raggett relied on the provisions of s.14 and s.33 Limitation Act 1980 to overcome the limitation argument put forward by the College Governors. Section 14 Limitation Act 1980 allows a Claimant three years from their “date of knowledge” which requires the knowledge of certain facts. If a Claimant is unsuccessful on Section 14 they can ask the Court to exercise its discretion under Section 33 to allow the claim to proceed. Both sections 14 and 33 where examined by the House of Lords in the lottery rapist case, and conjoined appeals, A – v – Hoare.

Mr. Raggett contended that he did not connect his experiences at the school of abuse to the problems encountered in his life until he had a breakdown in April 2005. Mrs. Justice Swift found that Mr. Raggett must have had the requisite knowledge, for the purposes of s.14 Limitation Act, from the time the acts of abuse were committed against him. However, Mrs. Justice Swift allowed Mr. Raggett to proceed under s.33 Limitation Act 1980 by exercising discretion in his favour; the judge was satisfied that Mr. Raggett had established that it would be equitable for the action to proceed and a fair trial would be possible.

Uppal Taylor Solicitors are specialist child abuse compensation solicitors. If you wish to speak with a solicitor in the strictest of confidence then please call 0115 982 0770 or complete our online enquiry form.

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