Landmark payout for Susan Couch
Thu, 06 Dec 2012 6:08p.m.
By Adam Ray
Details of a landmark payout for the sole survivor of the 2001 RSA murders are expected to be released in the next hour.
Susan Couch fought a long legal battle with corrections over their handling of William Bell, who was on probation when he wounded Ms Couch and killed three others at the RSA.
Relatives of other victims may now take similar claims.
Tai Hobson, whose wife was killed in the incident, has waited more than a decade for Corrections to own up to their mishandling of William Bell, so he's delighted with Ms Couch's success.
“She been struggling all those years now, things have come to a head I'm very happy for her,” says Mr Hobson.
Bell murdered Mr Hobson's wife Mary, together with Bill Absolum and Wayne Johnson, and viciously beat Ms Couch - while he was supposedly being monitored by probation officers.
Mr Hobson took an unsuccessful case against Corrections and Ms Couch then took her own case in 2005. Mr Hobson's now considering another claim.
“For the whole family's sake I would like to. It wasn't just me that suffered.”
The Sensible Sentencing Trust says Corrections may face other claims over failures to monitor violent parolees.
“Legally it's a big deal, but for the safety of the public I think it's an even bigger deal...[It's] fantastic, we've been battling for years,” says the trust’s Garth McVicar.
Ms Couch's civil damages case is thought to the first of its type since the ACC scheme ended the right to sue in the 1970s.
“Legally it sets a precedent," says Mr McVicar. "This case has already been making history around the world, in universities about what victims can do if they have the courage to challenge the system."
Mr McVicar says Corrections will have to take extra care with violent offenders on parole because if something goes wrong, they can now be held accountable.
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8/12/2012 4:58:47 p.m.
This case is a perfect example of why parole boards and judges should be held accountable for those they release on parole or bail. Not withstanding the failure of the probation service in this case, those advocating release (bail or parole) should be made accountable for any crimes commited by those they let out back into society.
7/12/2012 2:07:18 p.m.
When it comes to errors that government departments make this is a huge payout.
Look at the case of David Bain as well... if the government pays out and I suspect they wont that will be a record payout.
Yet kids that are raped and brutalised for years and are left badly damaged get little to nothing from the state when those injuries are a direct result of the incompetence of departments like the ministry of social development.
The average payout for someone that has been torutured as a result of the negligence of Cyfs workers is around 10,000-15,000 and thats only If the scare the department anough into forking anything over.
This government and former ones have spent years building protections around themselves that basically allow them to stuff up with impunity.
7/12/2012 12:12:37 p.m.
The Manchild wrote:
So sad that our government slow-plays this and then gives her a measly 300k for being crippled and mentally fooked for life! Such a bunch of scum that represent us in power. And what about the scumbag Judge and government employees that let this happen. Have they been fined and prosecuted....No of course not. The system is fundamentally floored and we are powerless to do anything especially when the media hide it then play it down and will now drop the story all together!
7/12/2012 10:12:26 a.m.
Now if Susan had murdered her family, had an All Black speak on her side, she would be going for well over $1 mil.How much will the criminals pay? Zip. NZ has to cough up again, for a criminals action, again.
6/12/2012 8:33:26 p.m.
Too little too lte. This woman and the other victims deserve way more ans this should have been settled years ago
6/12/2012 7:41:19 p.m.
Jim Seaview wrote:
What a courageous woman you are Susan Couch. Eleven years fighting the ACC, the IRD and the MSD with all their massive resources of the State behind them and funded by the hard working, overtaxed, overRated, diligent and struggling taxpayer.Congratulations to the relatively new Corrections CEO who has ended this chapter and finally to your Lawyer who has handled your fight for no pay - very very admirable. We are all behind your further claims for compensation from the ACC and the MSD.
6/12/2012 7:22:16 p.m.
Just Me wrote:
She saw her work colleagues murdered.She was attacked and beaten by a person who intended to add her to his list of murder victims.
For all that she has been through she deserves more than %300,000.
Many of our politicians and many CEOs of government department(probably the CEO of the Dept of Corrrections included)receive a yearly income in that bracket.Susan had to wait 11 years for a pathetic payment of $300,000.
Her life was literally turned upside down and side-ways after that horrific attack.She was attacked by a person out on parole in the workplace.She would have paid her taxes for all her working life prior to the attack.
To me $300,000 is not enough in form of compensation for a woman who has been put through absolute hell on earth.And after the attack she had to contend with the behaviour of various government departments.
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