05 September 2013
Our Sexual Abuse Solicitors on BA pilot charged with indecent assault
The late Mr Wood, a British Airways Pilot, took his life two days after he appeared in court where he was charged with indecently assaulting a girl under 14 and making and possessing indecent photographs of children.
This occurred after the police received details of allegations against Mr Wood in relation to offences which occurred in Africa. Mr Wood was initially arrested in November 2001 following an allegation of indecent assault. He was not charged on this occasion as the CPS found there was insufficient evidence. When the police received details of the allegations in Africa, the CPS found compelling similarities and charged Mr Wood with the 2001 offence.
It is alleged that Mr Wood sexually assaulted girls aged between 4 and 11 during trips to Africa. He is alleged to have approached schools and orphanages, using his status as a BA pilot to establish himself as a source of funding. The Times report that Ms Mbatia; who runs the lobby group Organising for Kenya knew of 85 cases where children are alleged to have been abused by Mr Wood. Ms Mbatia said that Mr Wood had connections with five children’s homes and most of those ran outreach programmes to help vulnerable families with small children. Many of the victims have described bring photographed by Mr Wood, this often took place in his hotel room in Nairobi. It is alleged that he brought victims to his hotel room to spend the night and would routinely strip them naked.
The Times report that British Airways may face legal action for failing to protect the victims against their employee. British Airways could be held vicariously liable for Mr Wood’s wrongful actions. It is alleged that there may be one or two other British men, including a second British Airways employee involved in the activities.
At Slater and Gordon our Sexual & Physical Abuse Solicitors have significant experience of pursuing Abuse Claims on the basis of vicarious liability. We currently act on behalf of victims who were abused in schools, care homes, hospitals and at work. The law allows the institution who employed the abuser to be held vicariously liable for their employee’s wrongful acts. A recent and helpful development of the law has now made it easier for institutions to be held vicariously liable. In the past, proving vicarious liability rested on whether or not the abuser was an employee. In the 2012 case of JGE v The Trustees of the Portsmouth Roman Catholic Diocesan Trust the court held it was sufficient to show the relationship was one “akin to employment”.
We would like to speak to anyone who has been affected by this story or any other abuse. If you would like to contact us please call a member of our team on 020 7657 1658 for free confidential advice.