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£7m claim by family of Northern Ireland man killed in plane crash rejected

By Staff Reporter

Published 12/07/2016

James Cassley with wife Hong
James Cassley with wife Hong

The family of a Northern Ireland-born banker who died in a plane crash in the Congolese jungle have had their £7m compensation bid thrown out by a London judge.

James Cassley (30) was killed with 10 others when a pilot flew into cloud as he descended and crashed into a ridge in June 2010.

Antrim-born Mr Cassley left a widow, Hong, and parents Mona and Hector. A multimillion-pound damages claim against his employer, GMP Securities Europe LLP, was rejected by the High Court in London last year.

The family continued their fight at the Court of Appeal, where judge Mr Justice Baker has now thrown out their case.

"I have profound sympathy for the family, but my clear conclusion is that there is no real prospect of an appeal succeeding," he told the court.

Mr Cassley, who grew up in Quin, Co Clare, and lived in London, was in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) for work purposes.

The aircraft he was travelling in had been chartered by an Australian mining company for a tour of a project in Cameroon, near the DRC border. The plan was to use a charter flight company but, in the days before the trip, the mining company changed to another provider. The flight took off at around 8.15am on June 19 and crashed an hour later.

Mr Cassley's widow and parents claimed at the Court of Appeal that his employer should have done more to make sure he was safe.

But Mr Justice Baker said that High Court judge Mr Justice Coulson had found that the cause of the horror crash was "pilot error".

No enquiries that GMP Securities could have made before the flight would have saved him, he said.

In addition, the employer did not know and had no reasonable way of knowing that the mining company had changed carriers, Mr Justice Baker continued, adding: "Mr Justice Coulson's findings were plainly based on a meticulous examination of the evidence, and within the ambit of his discretion."

The family's appeal bid was rejected.

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