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Bid by council to get compensation for girl damaged by drinking of mother fails

The Supreme Court has refused a local authority permission to appeal in legal proceedings brought by the council in a bid to establish that the mother of a girl born with Foetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) had committed a crime by drinking heavily during the pregnancy.

In the case of CP (a child) v First Tier Tribunal (Criminal Injuries Compensation) UKSC 2015/0006 the appellant, CP, was born with FAS disorder as a result of the mother’s drinking.

The mother had been warned about the damage her drinking – half a bottle of vodka and eight cans of strong lager – would cause.

An unnamed council in the North West applied on CP's behalf to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) for compensation on the basis that she was the victim of a crime of violence because her mother had administered a noxious substance on another person contrary to s. 23 Offences Against the Person Act 1861.

The First Tier Tribunal awarded CP compensation but this was overturned in the Upper Tribunal.

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The case was taken on CP’s behalf to the Court of Appeal. This proved unsuccessful, with Lord Justice Treacy finding that a foetus was not ‘another person’ for the purposes of s. 23.

The council then sought to raise the issue central to the case – whether CP should be permitted to argue that she was entitled to compensation from CICA as the victim of her mother’s crime of unlawful and malicious wounding or inflicting grievous bodily harm upon any other person contrary to s 20 of the Offences Against the Person Act 1861 – with the Supreme Court.

However, permission to appeal was refused because the application did not raise an arguable point of law, the Supreme Court has said.

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