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CEO welcomes new trial for strapping case

Sydney's Catholic Education Office is "pleased" with the decision to order a new trial to determine damages in the case of Paul Hogan, who sued the Catholic Church over a strapping he received at school 17 years ago.

The Catholic Weekly reports that the NSW Supreme Court of Appeal stripped Mr Hogan of his almost $3 million payout and ordered that a new trial be held to set damages.

Mr Hogan had sued the school and a lay teacher in 1998, claiming damages for assault and battery and negligence over two sets of strappings he received as a 13-year-old student at St John's College, Lakemba, on March 16, 1984. He claimed he had suffered permanent damage to his hand as a result.

In February, the four-person jury ruled in his favour, finding that the school and teacher had breached their duty of care and were guilty of assault and negligence.

The court ordered the Church to pay $2,954,732.70, including $700,000 in general damages, $10,000 in exemplary damages, $212,728 for past economic loss, $1,583,891.70 for future economic loss, $754 for past out-of-pocket expenses and $21,720 for future medical expenses.

The Church appealed against the award, saying that it was beyond what could be regarded as "appropriate in the circumstances of the case".

The Court of Appeal found the award was "excessively high" and ordered the new trial on a date to be fixed.

Catholic Weekly