$75,000 payout to fix a life
DOES $75,000 make up for a life that’s been ruined?
Five and a half years after a gang of teenage thugs bashed Nathan Grindlay to within an inch of his life, the brave Rockhampton man was yesterday awarded the maximum monetary sum of criminal compensation.
But $75,000 – the maximum Government payout in Queensland – doesn’t come close to covering medical bills, let alone help him create a better future.
Mr Grindlay yesterday told The Morning Bulletin that he “pretty much gave up” on the two-year battle for compensation after four of his five attackers were jailed after pleading guilty to causing him grievous bodily harm in March 2004.
The judge, who described the attack as “merciless, savage and unprovoked”, handed down findings in Rockhampton District Court yesterday.
“I’ve got no respect for the justice system at all. I think it is a disgrace,” Mr Grindlay said.
“It’s especially hard for victims of crime. Seventy-five thousand – that would have been a fair bit 30 or 40 years ago, but these days it can’t get you anything, not even a house.”
Mr Grindlay yesterday called for an examination of criminal compensation paid by the Government.
“The process is far too long to deal with for the victim and the families.
“You do not get closure – you just have a chance to move on and put it behind you.
“As it drags out it is continually in your face and you are continually reminded of it.
“Not a day goes by that I’m not reminded about what’s happened.”
Mr Grindlay says closure never happens.
“You just have to accept. When you finally accept what’s happened and accept the consequences of what you’re left to deal with, then you can move on.”
He said it was hard for any lesson to be learnt from his near-fatal bashing.
He was 18 years old when the gang of youths used fence palings and liquor bottles to brutally bash him outside a birthday party being held at a hall on Gladstone Road.
Doctors told Mr Grindlay he was not expected to live after he suffered a fractured skull, eye socket and jaw, and had internal bleeding and a stroke.
“Of course, when it happened everyone was really careful about what they were doing and where they were going. But everyone’s forgotten and everything just happens all over again,” Mr Grindlay said.
Next Friday Mr Grindlay will finish his training and become a tradesman at Rockhampton engineering company Hastings Deering – an incredible achievement for the 23-year-old, whose job opportunities are severely restricted. Because of his injuries, he can never drive a car.
“I try to stay positive, but it gets to me a lot,” Mr Grindlay said yesterday. “I struggle a fair bit with it and with accepting it.
“The injuries had a massive impact on my life and what I can and can’t do.”
Mr Grindlay’s legal fees will be taken from the compensation payout after he has received it within the next six to nine months.