A Dromore man injured during a 2009 training exercise in Iraq, where he was working for a security company, has had his compensation claim rejected by appeal court judges.
Ex-marine Dwayne Humphrey (32) was earning £80,000 a year working in close protection services when he was injured so badly as to be left unfit to return to his former job escorting contractors involved in a reconstruction programme in Iraq.
Mr Humphrey sued his previous employer, Aegis Defence Services Ltd, for £2m.
Last year a judge rejected his case and it emerged last week that three court of appeal judges had likewise rejected the claim.
The security company, they said, could not have been expected to do more to protect him from injury.
The London Court of Appeal heard a group of workers had been asked to carry a man on a stretcher as part of a simulated combat exercise, but after just 10 metres a “puffing, wheezing and panting” Iraqi interpreter dropped his corner of the stretcher, “wrenching” Mr Humphrey’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,” said the claimant’s lawyer.
Mr Humphrey argued 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; therefore some were bound to fail.
Sitting with Lord Justice Richards and Lord Justice Floyd, Lord Justice Moore-Bick said the fitness of interpreters was important, in that they could come under fire or be subject to IED explosions, so would need to be able to withdraw quickly.
“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,” he said.