The Jimmy Savile story continues to develop with more victims and increasingly disturbing details coming forward by the day.
As we all know it is too late for any criminal action to be taken against him. We may see others prosecuted for their involvement in his crimes and this process began with a high profile arrest last week
But there are remedies available to his victims and we could see a deluge of claims for compensation. Such claims are often not viable after the wrongdoer has died. But here we have a person who has left an estate valued at more than £4m and which has already been frozen by his executors –
The sheer volume of claims could wipe out the estate.
What other remedies do victims have?
Well they can submit a claim to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) which is funded by the taxpayer and compensates victims of crimes of violence. These will not be entirely straightforward because it is normally necessary to submit a claim within two years of the incident. In these many of these cases we are going back over 20 or even 30 years. Whilst the CICA can waive the time-limits, but the tests are quite strict and it is by no means guaranteed. But I would anticipate public pressure for flexibility here.
There is also a potential claim against any organization that employed Savile if assaults were committed during the course of his employment. This is what we call vicarious liability and could certainly apply if the incidents were linked to the employment. In most cases it seems that that was the case.
And there can also be claims against organizations who were themselves negligent for not protecting victims or even facilitating the assaults by allowing him unlimited access to the vulnerable.
These civil claims are again subject to time limits which could well be a major obstacle across the board. But again the courts will hopefully be sympathetic to claimants as they have been in the recent case of Kenyan torture victims in the 1950s –
The whole area is a bit of a minefield and expert legal advice is going to be essential.
I suspect that this whole unfortunate story could see the civil and criminal courts busy for some time.
We all keep asking ourselves how this could have happened. We certainly owe it to the victims to do all that we can to secure justice for what they have suffered.