Another schoolmaster found guilty – Philip Batten

For regular readers of my blogs, you will know that one typical characteristic of child abuse cases is the amount of control and calculation that is significant when it comes to covering up these horrific crimes.

This was certainly true in one of my latest cases and you can read more about this in the Surrey Mirror that quoted me as the lawyer representing 11 victims subjected to sex acts by a former school master, Philip Batten, in shared dormitories where walls were described as “paper thin”.

It would have been more than obvious to other students and perhaps even the staff that such abuse was happening, but, none of the victims reported the abuse at the time. This just goes to show the amount of control this individual had and how scared the pupils were of speaking out against him. One victim said when giving evidence that the school “must have known” about what was happening.

Philip Batten was an English and Drama teacher and house master at Royal Alexandra and Albert School in Reigate, Surrey between 1971 and 1984. During that period, he groomed and sexually and physically abused school boys that were in his care.

The abuse carried out on the boys did not only include various counts of sexual assault, but he was also guilty of attacking boys with pieces of wood and a blackboard rubber. His secret mission of vile abuse continued for 11 years, but the consequences of his crimes have remained and affected his victims to this day.

The now 70-year-old was convicted on Tuesday 18th May and was found guilty of 14 charges of rape and indecency with a child and cruelty to a person under 16 years. It took the jury just four hours to reach a unanimous verdict. This adds to his previous guilty plea to 28 charges of sexual abuse and neglect. He was subsequently sentenced to 17 years imprisonment.

It can be hard to think that any amount of time or compensation can put right such horrific crimes and the victims, who are now in their 40s and 50s, will never get back their childhood. However, seeking justice can also help obtain specialist therapy and bring a sense of closure.

If you have been affected by a similar event, either recent or historic, then you can contact the Abuse team at Verisona Law who can help you to sensitively resolve your case.


Lisa has specialised in childhood abuse and social care negligence for the last 8 years and has extensive experience in relation to civil abuse litigation, CICA claim maximisation and Redress Scheme claims. She offers a sympathetic and professional approach to her clients’ problems and advises on funding options (including insurance and Conditional Fee Agreements.)

Since 2018 she has travelled around the country to see clients who were failed by Lambeth Council during their childhood in order to collate evidence for submission to the Lambeth Children’s Home Compensation Scheme. Lisa’s style of working is tailored to providing emotional support whilst applying the specialist legal expertise required to ensure her client’s have the best evidence for making a successful claim.

Lisa is able to access key psychiatric and social care experts to obtain evidence and therapy recommendations for clients. She can direct clients to treatment providers if required. Often such treatment costs can be claimed as part of the compensation process. This is a priority to ensure her clients have the best opportunity to make positive steps into the future. Lisa excels in applying questions to psychiatric experts to clarify and ensure they have a deeper understanding of the case issues where required. She is also experienced in negotiation to maximise outcome according to specific scheme terms.

For the last year and half, Lisa has been leading the firm’s participation in the National Abuse Inquiry specifically relating to the IICSA Lambeth investigation acting on behalf of 6 core participants. Such work involved the preparation of core participant applications, section 40 funding applications, detailed consideration of social care record evidence, witness statements preparation, attending preliminary hearings for consideration on the extent of other key party involvement, detailed work on documentary disclosure evidence from the council, police and other core participants to identify deep seated failings within the past care and policing systems, cross referencing, and work with counsel on composing Rule 10 questioning of corporate and police witnesses giving evidence at the IICSA Lambeth hearing. Lisa also accompanied a key core participant giving evidence to the IICSA hearing providing support and understanding to ensure her client’s evidence was sensitively taken into account when the panel make recommendations to protect children in the future. Questions were raised on the effectiveness of the current Serious Case Review system and how this has been operating within police and council’s across the country, something which has also been identified whilst working on specific civil cases. The hope is that improvements in the child protection mechanisms can ensure the safety of children in future.

Lisa also specialises in CICA claims, an area of work which has increased significantly following the lifting of the pre 1979 same home abuse rule which facilitated many victims being able to finally achieve justice relating to serious childhood abuse.

Lisa also has extensive particular experience in running civil claims relating to foster carer abuse, abuse in private/public/approved school institutions, church abuse, and abuse linked to gymnastics.

Her extensive knowledge of the Civil Procedure Rules, skills in evidence gathering and analysis of liability and causation, and experience in risk assessment and settlement negotiation make her a valuable asset to clients and colleagues alike.

Lisa has more than 20 years’ experience of dealing with Personal Injury matters ranging from road traffic accidents to workplace injury and liability.

Lisa is fluent in German and Persian. She also has experience in Civil Litigation regarding Debt Recovery, Breach of Contract, and Insolvency Law

Client testimonials

"Lovely, friendly, great people. Very understanding too and very good at what they do. Very happy with the result, many thanks again Lisa and everyone involved in my case."
Anonymous

"I would like to express my profound heartfelt gratitude to Lisa Gafarov for all her hard work and understanding when representing me. She fought passionately for my case for two years.

Within this time, never once did I feel it was about the money for her. She was very considerate and dealt with many personal matters in a caring and professional way. It was a very sensitive case but she put in a lot of hard work and went the extra mile each time. Her wide range of expertise was indispensable during this difficult time. Because of this I trusted all her advice and as a result, this took a lot of pressure off of me.

She managed to reach a very amicable conclusion between the defendants and myself. You don’t know how much your passion impacts the lives of others. For this I am forever grateful. I would recommend your firm a hundred times over."
Anonymous, April 2019

Lisa studied ‘Contract Law, European Law and Employment Law’ as part of her degree in BA (Hons) Business Administration. She has also studied other business subjects, including accounting.

Having completed her degree, Lisa started work for Verisona Law in November 1999 in the Personal Injury department as a Trainee Litigation Clerk and since then has developed extensive skills in relation to personal injury litigation and case preparation.

  • Road traffic accidents
  • Accidents at work
  • Slip and trip claims
  • Occupier’s liability claims
  • Product Liability claims
  • Industrial disease claims
  • Work related upper limb disorder claims
  • Clinical negligence, including amputation claims
  • Cosmetic surgery claims
  • Abuse claims

"Thank you for all your much appreciated hard work. I will truly never forget your kindness towards me. Your patience, respect and understanding at all times was beyond words. The sincere compassion shown meant more to me than words could ever express. This firm will forever hold a special place in my heart."

Anonymous


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