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In affirmation of the legal principle that criminals will not be compensated for the consequences of their own illegal actions, the Court of Appeal rejected damages claims brought by two teenagers who jumped from a moving taxi in a bid to dodge a £10 fare.
The 17-year-olds and four other youths were intent on evading the fare when they called the cab. The driver realised what they were up to and, when he stopped the taxi, three of his passengers leapt out and ran away. He drove off with the intention of taking the other three to the nearest police station. However, the two teenagers jumped out of the moving vehicle and suffered serious head injuries.
Their substantial compensation claims against the cab driver were rejected by a judge. In dismissing their challenge to that decision, the Court noted that they were engaged in a criminal enterprise when they came to grief and that their deliberate decision to jump was both foolhardy and utterly reckless.
The cab driver, who had been attacked and stabbed by passengers in an incident the previous year, was understandably concerned for his safety and justifiably aggrieved at the attempt to cheat him of his fare. Any fault on his part was simply overwhelmed by the teenagers' recklessness and criminal intent.