Teenager compensated over court risk bungle

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A teenage court witness has received a £600,000 payout from the Crown Prosecution Service and Metropolitan Police after being put in danger.

The BBC revealed that the boy was promised anonymity to give evidence about a violent gang attack but his details were inadvertently given to gang members.

The payout, made in 2008, is thought to be one of the largest of its kind and came as the family of three had to be moved for their safety.

Yesterday, a CPS spokesman said: “This payment relates to a case dating from four years ago where information was passed to the defence which led to concerns about the safety of a young witness and their family, so that they had to be provided with protective measures.

“The CPS recognised that its actions in this case fell below our accepted standard and, together with the Metropolitan Police Service, reached an agreed settlement of damages and an apology with the parties concerned.

“We regret that on this occasion we did not provide the support which is normally available to witnesses.”

A Met spokesman added: “The Metropolitan Police Service aims to always provide victims and witnesses with the support they require. When we get it wrong we acknowledge it with those involved and if appropriate provide compensation.”

The BBC said the family had to move as part of the witness protection scheme after being threatened once details of the boy’s identity became known.

It is believed the family launched legal action against the CPS and Met for psychiatric damage, lost earnings and disruption to their lives.

They received damages totalling £550,000, with the CPS paying £350,000 and the family’s £50,000 legal costs.

The family told the BBC that for the young witness, “no sum of compensation would have given him back his youth”.

“He will never recover from this experience, he has lost trust in the police and if he were to witness a similar crime tomorrow – he would simply look away.”