Court awards plaintiff $1,273,125 following two sexual assaults in 1983

Mar 20, 2023 | Publication

Mr Miles, the plaintiff, was successful in his claim against Mr Doyle and awarded substantial compensation following two historic sexual assaults which occurred on one night in 1983. The case is noteworthy in considering the Court’s assessment of damages for sexual abuse cases.

Mr Miles claimed that as a result of the sexual assaults by Mr Doyle (in respect of which there had been convictions) he developed a psychiatric injury and had suffered significant loss. Mr Miles said that his life would have taken a completely different turn if not for the conduct of the defendant.

The defendant had declared bankruptcy and was imprisoned having been convicted of a series of historical sexual assault charges including in respect of the plaintiff.

The court did not accept that the plaintiff has been suffering from a psychological condition in the nature of depression since immediately after the assaults took place. Rather, this is a case in which the development of a psychological condition occurred many years after the events at a time when the plaintiff was compelled to relive and confront the events and his abuser and engage in protracted and contested criminal and civil proceedings.

Mr Miles had not established that the effect of the sexual assaults was that he was unable to complete his course at Duntroon or stay in the military at all and was unable to become a commercial pilot. In reality, Mr Miles chose other options (immediately after leaving the military) and made other career choices. These conclusions rather rendered much of the Mr Miles’ expert accounting report irrelevant.

Damages were ultimately assessed as follows:

General damages $200,000

Interest on past general damages $71,500

Past economic loss $527,000

Interest on past economic loss $144,925

Future economic loss $200,000

Loss of superannuation (averaged at 10% for the past and then 11% for the future) $74,700

Future medical expenses $20,000

Aggravated damages $35,000

Total $1,273,125

The case of Miles v Doyle (No 2) NSWSC 1322 can be read in full
here <>.

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