Belfast Telegraph

Soldier loses case after MoD course injury ends career

By Staff Reporter

A soldier from Northern Ireland who sued the Ministry of Defence after his career was ended on a Royal Marines training course has lost his High Court bid for £145,000 damages.

Robert Fegan (42), who is originally from Newry, stumbled and suffered a career-ending knee injury on the brutal Junior Command Course in 2009.

Mr Fegan, who already had a knee condition, claimed the MoD was negligent for allowing him to do a night navigation exercise when carrying a heavy weight.

It put him at a much increased risk of injury and, ultimately, resulted in the accident which ended his 16-year services career, he claimed.

At the time the veteran of tours in Afghanistan had been hoping to be promoted to corporal, but instead has ended up working as a fitness instructor.

The hearing was due to last three days, but yesterday it fell short when a judge dismissed his damages case in half the time.

Judge Simon Brown QC said he was not convinced the MoD was to blame for Mr Fegan's career-ending injury.

Earlier the court heard Mr Fegan, who now lives in Exmouth, Devon, had been required to complete the night course on Woodbury Common while carrying more than 42lbs of gear.

He was injured when some rocks slipped underneath him, but should never have been put in that position when he was already carrying a knee problem, his lawyers argued.

His barrister Ben Collins said: "The students, including the claimant, were all told that they could not complete the course unless they could undertake the night navigation exercise while carrying the complete required load of kit."

Judge Brown was told that Mr Fegan, then a lance corporal with the Plymouth-based Royal Marine Police Troop, was subject to restrictions in his physical activity.

He had been diagnosed with a degenerative knee condition and a medical board had assessed it as so bad that he should not undertake heavy lifting or impact activities, the judge heard. Nevertheless, he was permitted to undertake the night exercise, Mr Collins said.

For the MoD, barrister Matthew Barnes told Mr Fegan: "You would have appreciated that all of these exercises carry some risk."

The case was due to continue for the rest of the week, but Mr Fegan's evidence was finished quickly and the judge dismissed his claim.

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