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School strap leads to pound;1m in damages

AUSTRALIA: A Sydney man who was strapped on the hand at a Catholic school 17 years ago was awarded a record A$3 million (pound;1m) damages last week.

Now the state government is reviewing whether juries should be responsible for such decisions and if any money awarded should be capped.

Engineer Paul Hogan claimed to have sustained permanent injuries after being severely strapped twie on one day at St John's College in March, 1984. He was given three straps for being out of uniform and five more later for calling a teacher a "black bastard".

Dr Hogan sued the church and the teacher. He told the court he suffered constant pain in his hand, arm, neck and head, as well as pyschological problems. The church was given 21 days to appeal.

Geoff Maslen.

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