Editorial: Victim of assault and the system

By Andrew Austin

It is always sad to hear stories of needless and unprovoked violence resulting in someone being injured so badly that it changes their lives forever.

The situation is made worse when their attempts to get some sort of compensation for their misfortune are denied in one way or another.

You would have to have a heart of stone not to feel something for poor Steven Dickson who died earlier this week without seeing a cent of A$2.3 million ($2.63 million) awarded to him by an Australian court for a brutal assault by a Sydney bouncer in 2007.

Mr Dickson had leaned against a car belonging to bouncer Russell Peter Chaffey while hailing a taxi. The burly bouncer had demanded money for damages to his car. When Mr Dickson refused, he struck him in the temple with his elbow. Mr Dickson's head smashed into the concrete on the central Sydney street, and he spent three months in hospital. He was unable to work and suffered blackouts, epileptic seizures and grew distant from family and friends.

Mr Dickson successfully sued Chaffey for assault and battery but has never received any money because Chaffey pleaded poverty.

His lawyer Joshua Dale tells us that Mr Dickson most likely died from injuries stemming from that attack all those years ago.

It is another example of the cruel hand of fate, but also another reason why authorities here and in Australia need to crack down hard on people who randomly attack others.

Mr Dickson's funeral service was held in Sydney and his ashes were brought back to Napier where they were scattered at sea.

One good thing is that he finally got to come home. Pity, it was too late, thanks to mindless thuggery.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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