Bid to get taxpayers to pay for damage caused in riot at secure unit

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A COMPENSATION claim against East Dunbartonshire Council for damage done during a secure unit riot will proceed to court.

In March 2008 £200,000-worth of damage was done during the major disturbance at St Mary’s Kenmure, in Bishopbriggs, which saw fires lit, troubled youngsters escape and staff assaulted.

It only reopened in August last year after a £500,000 refurbishment.

The Cora Foundation, who run the unit, and St Mary’s Kenmure management committee earlier this year raised a joint action against the council relying on a 190-year-old law contained in the Riotous Assemblies (Scotland) Act 1822. Council lawyers tried to get the case thrown out of court, arguing that the law covered schools, houses, shops and churches damaged in riots - but not secure units.

But in a written judgement issued at the Court of Session recently, temporary judge Morag Wise QC gave the go-ahead for a full court hearing known as a proof before answer. The court will hear all evidence before deciding whether the act applies.

The judgement said: “I consider that the pursuer has averred sufficiently in this case to permit enquiry of the precise circumstances and character of the disturbance before deciding whether what occurred was a riotous assembly within the meaning of the act.

“For the reasons given above, I will allow a proof before answer in the Cora Foundation case.”

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