When advising on the consequences of a criminal conviction, the focus is primarily on the immediate sentence, which can range from a discharge to life imprisonment with no prospect of release.

Of course, many other things must be considered, such as banning or protective orders, the necessity of disclosing convictions to employers, and an almost endless array of other possible fact-specific orders.

One aspect often overlooked is the potential liability for civil damages. In many cases, harm can be addressed through compensation. However, in situations where the harm is significant and the calculation of damages is beyond the competence of a criminal court, no order will be made. This can leave a victim in a position where they need to seek redress elsewhere, potentially leading to significant financial implications.

Over recent years, we have noted an increased willingness on the part of victims to use the civil courts to seek damages, and this will be of importance to any defendant who has financial resources that could be targeted, such as equity in a home.

A recent example of this involved the disgraced singer Paul Gadd, perhaps better known as Gary Glitter. Gadd was convicted of serious sex offences and is currently serving a lengthy prison sentence.

The High Court heard that:

“The sexual assaults inflicted upon the claimant by the defendant [Gadd] have caused the claimant to suffer psychological injury and losses.

She maintains that she has endured the following pain, suffering and loss of amenity: (a) repeatedly being sexually assaulted and raped by the defendant; (b) being humiliated and coercively controlled by the defendant; (c) consequential complex post-traumatic stress disorder (C-PTSD) and recurrent depressive disorder.”

The damages claimed were:

  • General damages for her pain, suffering and loss of amenity.
  • Aggravated damages.
  • Treatment as recommended by a Doctor (amounting to over £9,000).
  • Education and employment disadvantage by reason of her psychological injuries, which is continuing, and she claims damages for loss of earnings.

The claimant, in this case, was successful, and Gadd was ordered to pay the sum of £508,800.

It may be tempting to try to transfer any assets to another person, but this will likely not work, as a court can overturn transactions designed to defeat known or anticipated claims.

When choosing a solicitor to advise, it is essential to choose a firm that is equipped to present the whole picture, as this may impact the decisions you make during the life of a case, particularly in relation to a plea.


How can we help?

We ensure we keep up to date with any changes in legislation and case law so that we are always best placed to advise you properly. If you would like to discuss any aspect of your case, please contact our team of criminal defence specialists on: 01376 511819