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Univ. of San Diego School of Law

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Friday, November 14, 2008

Wrongly-jailed men lose compensation bids

Two victims of high-profile “miscarriages of justice” cases lost a legal battle for increased compensation awards today.

Darren Hall was wrongly imprisoned for killing Cardiff newsagent Philip Saunders, and Stephen Miller wrongly served time for the brutal murder of prostitute Lynette White.

Mr Hall, 39, from Newport, Gwent, and Mr Miller, from Clapham North, south London, and their co-defendants, had their convictions quashed by the Court of Appeal after spending years behind bars.

Total compensation awards in both cases are in excess of £400,000.

But their legal team argued at the High Court in London that they should have received tens of thousands more and their awards were “irrationally low”.

Today the case was rejected when Lord Justice Latham, sitting with Mrs Justice Swift, ruled their argument was “impossible to sustain”.

Both men contended the assessor, Lord Brennan QC, had not applied the law correctly when carrying out his calculations, especially when compensating them for actual loss of liberty.

Mr Hall was awarded £125,000 as part of his total compensation package for that loss. His lawyers argued that if the law had been correctly applied, he would have received closer to £250,000 under that heading. [Mark Godsey]

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