Northern Ireland

Injured ex-marine's £2m claim rejected by Court of Appeal judges

Dwayne Humphrey Image copyright Paul Keogh
Image caption Mr Humphrey claimed the Iraqi should never have been included in the exercise.

An ex-marine who was injured during a training exercise in Iraq has had his claim for compensation rejected.

Dwayne Humphrey, from Dromore, County Down, was left unfit for work following the injury in 2009.

He sued his previous employer, Aegis Defence Services Ltd, for £2m, but three court of appeal judges rejected his claim on Thursday.

They said the security company could not have been expected to do more to protect him from injury.

'Wheezing and panting'

The London Court of Appeal heard that a group of workers were asked to carry a man on a stretcher in a simulated combat exercise.

But the court was told that within 10 metres of starting the stretcher carry, a "puffing, wheezing and panting" Iraqi interpreter dropped his corner, "wrenching" the 32-year-old's shoulder.

"Mr Humphrey picked up his end to complete the exercise and the interpreter was ordered to carry on alongside the stretcher, touching it, and even leaning on it to assist himself," his lawyer said.

Mr Humphrey claimed the Iraqi should never have been included in the exercise.

But Lord Justice Moore-Bick said the simulation had been a test to ensure interpreters were fit enough, meaning some were bound to fail.

The court heard Mr Humphrey was an ex-Marine and working in close protection services when he suffered the injury.

IED explosions

His job involved escorting contractors in the Project Matrix reconstruction programme in Iraq.

Mr Humphrey was earning £80,000 per year at the time, but was so badly injured that he will never be fit to return to his former job.

He sued the company last year but his case was rejected by a judge and fought on at the Court of Appeal.

Giving his verdict, Lord Justice Moore-Bick, sitting with Lord Justice Richards and Lord Justice Floyd, said it was important that interpreters were fit enough.

"They could come under fire or be subject to IED explosions, so would need to be able to withdraw quickly," he said.

"Given the importance of the use of Iraqi interpreters and of their integration into contractors' teams and the modest degree of risk involved, it seems to me impossible to say that Aegis were at fault."