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Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Savile charity 'to fight against payouts for victims'

A charity set up by Jimmy Savile is to challenge a compensation scheme for victims of the sex attacker. The Jimmy Savile Charitable Trust will take its case to the Court of Appeal later this year, victims' lawyers said. It wants to overturn an agreed scheme, under which the Savile estate, which is separate to the trust, the BBC and the NHS are liable to compensate victims. Liz Dux, who represents 176 of the late DJ's victims, said her clients would be "angry and disappointed" by the move. The charitable trust controls £3.7m and is a separate entity to the Savile estate. Ms Dux said the estate had its own pot of funds, which is where its share of payouts are to come from. Continue reading the main story “ Start Quote The victims deserve redress and closure. They have suffered enough” Liz Dux Abuse lawyer She said she could therefore not understand why the charity trustees were taking the legal action. "For one, it's going to mean that more precious funds that should have gone to victims are being spent on legal costs, which is exactly what the settlement scheme was designed to avoid," she told the BBC. "And secondly, the charitable trust is not even responsible for compensating victims - that is for the estate to do." Unrestricted access Savile is said to have abused more than 200 people over a 60-year period. Last month, investigators found the ex-BBC DJ sexually assaulted victims aged five to 75 in NHS hospitals over decades of unrestricted access. The High Court approved a compensation scheme for victims earlier this year. The Jimmy Savile Charitable Trust was granted leave in mid-July by the Court of Appeal to challenge the ruling. Victims' lawyers were informed by the court last week. The appeal is expected to take place between September and January, Ms Dux said. Under the agreed settlement scheme, abuse victims will be able to claim against the BBC, the NHS and the Savile estate. 'In the dark' Ms Dux said all three bodies agreed they would make payouts and that claims to the BBC and the NHS would not deplete the estate's available funds. "The victims, the Savile estate, the NHS and the BBC are all acting on the same side. We all want and support the approved scheme," she said. "The scheme is a pragmatic and sensible solution to what will otherwise be protracted and hugely expensive litigation." The abuse lawyer added: "The charitable trust offered no explanation then as to why it objected to the scheme and even now we and the victims remain in the dark. No money can be paid from the charitable trust to compensate victims. "The victims deserve redress and closure. They have suffered enough. We urge the Court of Appeal to back the original scheme as previously agreed so this process can move towards a much-desired conclusion." Ms Dux said the Savile estate had funds of about £3.2m last year, but had probably been "haemorrhaging" money in legal fees.

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