Sheffield postal worker would not have received payout under new proposals

Postal Work Paul Coleman, pictured at Home in Richmond, Paul was Savaged by Two Dogs on his Postround, in Sheffield .
Postal Work Paul Coleman, pictured at Home in Richmond, Paul was Savaged by Two Dogs on his Postround, in Sheffield .
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A SHEFFIELD postal worker who was left disabled after a dog attack would not have got compensation had new controversial compensation cuts been in place, union leaders said today.

Dad of two Paul Coleman, aged 43, who worked as a Royal Mail postman in Sheffield, suffered a horrific dog attack when delivering mail in 2007 which left him needing extensive surgery and skin grafts.

Paul, who was left 30 per cent disabled by his injuries, won a court case against dog owner Jamal Richards and was awarded damages and compensation.

But because Richards, who was jailed for nine months at Sheffield Crown Court, was unemployed and had no assets Mr Coleman received nothing.

He applied to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme and eventually received £7,500.

But the Communication Workers’ Union said under new proposals Mr Coleman would not have been allowed to apply to the CICS and would have been left without a penny.

Union leaders accused the Government of trying to push through cuts to compensation for the victims of crime, including those attacked by dogs.

Plans to change the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme were withdrawn in September after cross-party opposition, but campaigners said the proposals had been brought back and will go before Parliament’s delegated legislation committee.

Billy Hayes, general secretary of the Communication Workers Union said: “The Government says that support for victims is their priority, but actions speak louder than words and they are about to cut compensation for victims of crime.

“Ministers may think that injuries, such as those caused by vicious dog attacks on postal workers, are ‘minor’, but they have life-changing consequences on the victims who suffer scarring, disfigurement and disability for months or even years.

“If these proposals are voted through by this unelected committee, it will mean the victims of violent crime, such as muggings and dog attacks, who are unable to secure compensation through the courts or insurance companies could be left with nowhere to turn for help.

“Many others would only qualify for vastly reduced sums.

“The Government has refused to act on the problem of dangerous dogs and is now intent on making the situation worse for the victims of dog attacks and other violent crime.

“Cutting CICS would be one of the cruellest acts of this coalition Government yet.”

The Ministry of Justice said very few victims of dog attacks received compensation under the current scheme. Medical treatment, support and counselling would still be available.