Belfast Telegraph

Boxer left out of Commonwealth Games team drops legal case for damages

By Alan Erwin

A former champion amateur boxer has ended his lawsuit over being dropped from Northern Ireland's Commonwealth Games team.

Conor Wallace was seeking damages after being deselected from the squad of athletes who competed in Australia in April.

But it was confirmed at the High Court today that the 22-year-old Newry fighter has withdrawn his claim.

Judgment was entered for the defendant in the action, the Northern Ireland Commonwealth Games Council (NICGC).

Mr Wallace, a former Ulster light-heavyweight amateur champion, has now turned professional and relocated to Australia.

He is also well-known from working with UFC Superstar Conor McGregor at a 2016 training camp in America.

He originally went to court in March seeking an order to be reinstated after the Council dropped him from the team who took part in the Gold Coast games.

At the time police said they were investigating a complaint against a man from the Newry area.

Mr Wallace denies any wrongdoing and has not been arrested or questioned.

At a previous hearing his lawyer said he had been confronted by a self-styled vigilante group.

A barrister for the council insisted, however, that its actions were at all times based on child protection issues and the police investigation.

Despite abandoning legal attempts to be reinstated to the team because a registration deadline had passed, Mr Wallace was due to pursue a claim for damages over his deselection.

The case was set to go to trial later this month.

But in court today Patrick Lyttle QC, for the Council, confirmed the action was no longer proceeding.

"The position is, in effect, the plaintiff is withdrawing his claim," he said.

He added that an order for judgment was to be made for his client by consent.

In a statement following the outcome, the Council said its decision to drop Mr Wallace was taken in line with safeguarding best practice and with the support and guidance of specialists in the sector.

"At the time of deselection, the NICGC stated that the decision was based upon the protection of all parties and was not a determination of Mr Wallace's guilt or innocence in relation to any other matter," the statement continued.

"The outcome of this High Court process vindicates the good governance, policies and procedures of the Commonwealth Games Council.

"However, questions may now be asked regarding the funding of what we have always believed to be a purely vexatious claim."

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