MP’s son refuses to pay crash compensation

Rhianna King
April 25, 2012

Boat crash victim, Kate Campbell.

The son of a state MP who was ordered to pay $230,000 to a woman who suffered life threatening injuries in a boat crash four years ago says he cannot afford to pay any of the compensation.

Last month a judge ordered Luke Woollard to pay compensation to Kate Campbell, 24, who was placed into a coma and suffered a broken ankle, pelvis, vertebrae and jaw and a shattered larynx after slamming into the boat’s dashboard and windscreen when it crashed near the South of Perth Yacht Club in the early hours of November 7, 2007.

Mr Woollard, the son of Alfred Cove Independent MP Janet, last year pleaded guilty to causing Ms Campbell grievous bodily harm after crashing his father’s boat and was given an 18-month suspended sentence.

But in a statement yesterday, Mr Woollard said he had no money and no assets to pay the compensation and his only option was to declare bankruptcy.

He said he had made a stupid decision on the night of the boat crash, but had since been subjected to years of criminal and civil litigation, and suffered more adverse publicity than most murderers.

“I hope that the community accepts that this is enough. I would like from now on to build a life and a career,” he said.

He accused Ms Campbell of commencing a “public press campaign to vilify” him.

He said his family had made several offers of $100,000 to Ms Campbell before the civil case.

Mr Woollard said he remained deeply sorry for what he did to Ms Campbell and he wished her well for the future.

He said his parents had twice offered Ms Campbell $100,000 to settle the civil litigation, but she had refused the offer.

But Ms Campbell Kate told 720 ABC Radio this morning she had tried to settle the matter out of court, but the out of court offers were insulting and would only be paid in installments.

“I tried everything out of court, out of the media light to try and get some compensation for my injuries and for my family to be recouped for their losses,” she said.

She said she was remaining optimistic that she would still receive the payout.

“I never wanted to punish Luke and I never wanted to see him bankrupt,” she said.

“Someone paid all his legal bills… I always thought someone would maybe pay my judgment if I was awarded it, which I was, but for some reason that someone isn’t there behind him anymore.”

“I have worked hard to get where I am today and I’ve now found a job, but it’s going to take me a long time to earn $230,000, I’m not going to lie.”

“But I can work hard, and I’m going to make sure my parents have an awesome retirement, when they reach that.”

During the civil case before Judge Philip McCann, the Perth District Court heard one of the passengers on the boat, Murray Patterson, had intended to drive the group home but Mr Woollard “shoved” him out of the way to take control of the wheel.

Mr Woollard admitted he was “10 out of 10 drunk” but argued Ms Campbell knew he was intoxicated and accepted the risks when she boarded the boat.

Defence lawyer Raoul Cywicki said Ms Campbell had turned down three offers of lifts or taxi rides home so she could travel with her partner to his home in Salter Point, in Perth’s south.

Ms Campbell testified she was concerned about Mr Woollard driving the boat but did not ask him to return to shore or let her off.

Article source: www.watoday.com.au