Woollards agree to $250,000 settlement

West Australian independent MP Janet Woollard has agreed to pay $250,000 to settle boat-crash victim Kate Campbell’s civil action against her son, Luke.

Ms Campbell was critically injured when Luke Woollard, 23, crashed his father’s uninsured boat on Perth’s Canning River in the early hours of November 7, 2007, after a heavy drinking session.

He was given a suspended sentence after pleading guilty to causing grievous bodily harm.

Ms Campbell successfully sued Luke Woollard for $230,000 in the District Court to recover her medical bills, but he refused to pay, claiming he faced bankruptcy.

Dr Woollard and her cardiologist husband Keith had also refused to pay the claim on behalf of their son, despite bankrolling his failed legal defence.

However, after widespread criticism of their stance, the Woollards have now offered to settle with Ms Campbell for $250,000 – $20,000 more than the court award.

Ms Campbell said she was glad to put the four-year legal battle behind her.

“I’m still in utter shock and disbelief – I can’t even begin to describe,” she told Fairfax Radio on Thursday.

“I’m glad I can now put everything behind me and start my life afresh for the first time in four-and-a-half years.”

Ms Campbell’s lawyer John Hammond said the offer would settle all claims, past and present, including possible legal action over a mail-out by Dr Woollard last week that attacked his client.

Dr Woollard sent letters to 14,000 households in her Alfred Cove electorate – covering almost 21,000 voters – claiming her son’s civil trial “was part of a campaign to vilify our family and force us to pay additional money”.

The letter has been referred to the WA Electoral Commission.

On Wednesday, WA Premier Colin Barnett said the Liberal party would target Dr Woollard’s seat, saying his party had “a very good chance of winning”.

Dr Woollard has been the member for Alfred Cove since 2001, but only won the last election in 2008 on preferences, after getting just 25 per cent of the primary vote.

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