Judges have ruled that a drug dealer who was injured when his friend crashed the car they were driving in at high speed should be entitled to compensation as existing UK laws breach an EU directive.
Sean Delaney and friend Shane Pickett, who was driving a £80,000 Mercedes, ploughed into a people carrier carrying a family of five in 2006 after Pickett overtook on a bend at high speed, the Express reports.
The driver lost control and the two men ended up in a garden and had to be cut free from the wreckage, where firemen discovered Mr Delaney had £1000 worth of cannabis on him.
Mr Delaney initially claimed compensation from Mr Pickett’s insurers after he was left disabled after the crash, demanding hundreds of thousands of pounds. But they refused, because the driver was on drugs and driving dangerously. When his claim was thrown out, Delaney tried the Motor Insurers’ Bureau who also refused to cough up the cash.
It cited an exemption which allowed insurers not to pay our to those who “knew or ought to have known” a vehicle was being used “in the course or furtherance of a crime”.
Undeterred, the father of four went to county court, where he lost, before suing the Secretary of State for Transport saying the UK rules were illegal under EU law.
But despite a judge ruling against Delaney in 2011, he appealed and last year the High Court found in his favour, deciding that the illegal activity involved was not instrumental to the crash but merely “scene setting”.
Judges again ruled against Delaney in 2011. But he appealed and last year, the High Court finally found in his favour. It said the illegality involved was merely “scene setting”.
After an appeal by the Department of Transport, Lord Justice Richards, with Lords Justice Kitchin and Sales, said the ban violated the 2009 European Motor Insurance Directive – the same law which saw insurance premiums for women rocket as insurers were unable to lower the amount charged based on statistical evidence.
It leaves the door open for tax payers to stump up millions in compensation.
The ruling was branded “an outrage that goes against a principle of British Justice” by UKIP Transport spokesman Jill Seymour MEP.
“The common sense position, derived from the Common Law and the will of the British people, is that if you are engaged knowingly in crime then you cannot get compensation for injuries during the commission of that crime.
“Instead the EU, through legislation supported by all but 16 MEPs written by a Lib Dem MEP, Diane Wallis is now forcing the British taxpayer to hand over hundreds of thousands of pounds to a crook.
“It just shows that while we remain in the EU, common sense flies out of the window and British justice is a joke. It’s all about the criminals, not about the victims.”
Campaigning group the Tax Payers’ Alliance blamed the decision on “Brussels bureaucrats who dreamed up these inflexible regulations.”
Director Jonathan Isaby said “Taxpayers will wonder what happened to common sense.”
And Tory MP Dominic Raab said it was absurd that “criminals can sue the government at huge taxpayers’ expense for harm suffered in the course of committing their crimes.
“It adds insult to injury that this nonsense is being forced on us by Brussels, contrary to all notions of basic democratic accountability.”
The Department for Transport said: “We’re disappointed. We will explore all avenues.”