BBK Secures New Abuse Law Judgment in High Court

Posted by:

Rebecca Sheriff

In 2012 Lucy approached BBK for help in her claim against Domenico Quirino.  She explained that when she was 14 years old she joined a karate club at her school.  Quirino was the instructor some twenty years older than her.  Lucy really enjoyed karate and was soon attending four times a week.  When she was 15 years old Quirino offered Lucy private tuition own free of charge and told her that he would make her a karate champion.  Wanting to improve her skills Lucy gladly attended the extra sessions with him.

Soon Quirino began to send Lucy text messages outside of karate.  This was then followed by messages on instant messaging sites.  To begin with Lucy felt flattered that Quirino was showing her so much attention.  This soon changed however as the messages became more and more frequent.  The content of the messages also changed, from discussing karate to asking Lucy about boys and her sexual history.  He told her that he was attracted to her and that he liked her body.  Lucy quickly began to feel trapped and harassed. Quirino’s comments made Lucy feel extremely uncomfortable but she did not know what to do about the situation because he was her instructor.

When she was still 15 years old, during a karate lesson, Quirino pinned Lucy against a wall by her arms and told her that he would not release her until she kissed him.  She was unable to escape as he was much stronger than her and so she had no choice but to do as he told her.  After this incident Lucy did not attend lessons for a number of weeks before returning to karate hoping that Quirino would leave her alone.  Sadly this was not the case despite Lucy refusing to attend any more private lessons with him.

Quirino continued to harass Lucy with messages and if she did not reply he would approach her during the group karate lessons.  He began to drive Lucy home from lessons and it was during these car journeys that the abuse began to escalate.  Quirino would force himself on Lucy by kissing her and touching her body under her clothes.  She felt powerless to stop him.  After she turned 16 years old Quirino began to have sex with Lucy – something he would try to later use against her as she was over the age of legal consent.  Quirino continued to abuse Lucy in this way until she turned 18 years old.

A few years later Lucy realised that she was struggling to cope with what had happened to her and she sought advice from a counsellor.  With the help of the counsellor Lucy began to address the devastating effect of what Quirino had done to her and bravely decided to report him to the police.  Quirino was charged with a number of sexual offences against Lucy and despite arguing that it had been a consensual relationship he was convicted in 2012.  In 2013 Quirino tried to appeal his conviction putting Lucy through even more distress but thankfully he was unsuccessful and the conviction remains.

As a result of the abuse that she suffered Lucy developed post traumatic stress disorder and depression.  Such was the effect upon her that Lucy took an overdose and was admitted to hospital for treatment.  Whilst she has undergone a significant amount of counselling sadly Lucy is likely to suffer reoccurrences of depression for the rest of her life.

Lucy’s education has also greatly suffered as a result of Quirino’s abuse and consequently this has affected her career.  Lucy excelled in her GCSE’s at the age of 15 but as the abuse escalated she was unable to concentrate on her studies and left school during her A Level course.  She was later to enrol at college but by this time she was a year behind her peers.  To her credit Lucy went to university where she obtained a degree and then a Masters.  At the time of reporting to the police Lucy had just begun her PhD.  As a result of the stress of the investigation and the criminal trial that followed Lucy was forced to take extended periods of absence from her studies which delayed her even further.  In total therefore Lucy was four years behind her peers.

On Lucy’s instructions BBK brought a claim for compensation against Quirino for what he had done to her.  Whilst Quirino initially responded to the claim upon being notified, he then proceeded to bury his head in the sand and ignore all correspondence.  In order to progress the claim BBK therefore quickly issued proceedings at court against him.  It then became clear that Quirino had sold his house and moved elsewhere in, what we presume, was an attempt to remain unknown and avoid the claim.  With the help of a detective however BBK were able to track Quirino down and secured judgment against him at court in light of his lack of response.  This meant that Lucy had won her claim and successful applications for interim payments of damages and Lucy’s legal costs were made.  When Quirino then failed to pay the amounts that Lucy had been awarded, charging orders were quickly registered against his new property to protect those awards should he try to sell his property again to avoid payment.

As a result of his continued failure to deal with the claim BBK were forced to take the case to trial to be heard before a High Court Judge at the Royal Courts of Justice last month in order to resolve the claim for Lucy.  Sadly this meant that she would have to give evidence in court again.   Surprisingly Quirino attended this final hearing but in anticipation of this a successful application had already been made to the court for Lucy to give her evidence from behind a screen to spare her further distress.

The case was heard by His Honour Judge Wood QC who awarded an amount of compensation in excess of £170,000 to be paid by Quirino in addition to Lucy’s legal costs.  Of this amount, £105,000 was specifically awarded for the delay to Lucy’s career.  If, as it is suspected, Quirino fails to pay this award to Lucy within the deadline ordered by the court, BBK will immediately register charges against his property to the value of the final debt owed.  An application to court will then follow for an order for the sale of his property to realise the compensation that Lucy has been awarded and so deserves.

Share

Back to articles