Mumbai terror victim wins UK trial ruling

A victim of the terror attacks in Mumbai, which saw gunmen shoot hotel guests, has won the right to have his case heard in a British court.

A holidaymaker who was left paralysed after being caught up in the Mumbai terror attack has won a High Court battle for the right to have his compensation claim heard in Britain.

Will Pike, 33, is in a wheelchair after falling nearly 50 feet (15.2m) from his bedroom window while trying to escape the extremists who attacked the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel in November 2008.

The freelance filmmaker from north London alleges that the owners of the hotel did little to provide security for residents despite several warnings that an attack was imminent.

Pike and his then girlfriend, Kelly Doyle - who is also bringing proceedings - claim they saw limited security checks with only one metal detector and cursory screening of guests.

They say they had not been given proper advice about emergency procedures and evacuation routes and, when they heard doors being kicked in and shots fired, had to break a window with furniture from their smoke-filled room and try to reach the ground using bedding and curtains knotted together.

Lawyers for Pike argued at a hearing in London that the case should be heard in the UK, where Pike lives and where The Indian Hotels Company Ltd, which owns the hotel, has a substantial business presence.

Announcing his decision on Thursday, Justice Stewart said: "I am persuaded that it is clearly the case that England is the appropriate forum for the trial of this action."

He said Pike and Doyle, "have clearly demonstrated and proved that granting a stay in English proceedings and requiring proceedings to be commenced in India would amount to a denial of justice".

Speaking after the decision was announced Mr Pike said he was "very relieved" about the decision.

"For one thing, it means that justice will be allowed to take its course - if the trial were to take place in India, it simply wouldn't have happened," he said.

Russell Levy, a partner at law firm Leigh Day, said: "This is a great relief for our client who is confined to a wheelchair. The truth is that he would not be able to pursue his claim in India."

Source AAP

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