Sgt X was engaged in the repair of a Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System when he was subjected to a series of unprovoked assaults by a Staff Sergeant who was his colleague and superior officer. Sgt X subsequently underwent surgery for the removal of a large intracranial haematoma. He has been left with residual symptoms which have prevented him from returning to his pre-accident role.
Sgt X’s solicitor, Helen Clifford, head of personal injury at MW Solicitors said
Partner and Head of Personal Injury
“I am delighted that we have finally achieved justice for Sgt X. Not only was he assaulted in a series of shocking and unprovoked attacks, he was denied justice through the Army’s internal procedures. The MoD has tried to prevent Sgt X from securing justice and proper compensation. They made unsubstantiated claims against him, failed to follow their internal procedures and failed to disclose relevant documents during the course of the claim. Sgt X has remained in the Army throughout the case and is now being considered for medical discharge. He is a brave and determined man. Sgt X’s assailant was promoted rather than disciplined following the assault. I would urge the MoD to review its disciplinary procedures and their implementation”.
Sgt X said
“Before being assaulted, by a member of my chain of command that I had known for 17 years, I was adhering to what the army thrives on and this is ‘Operational Effectiveness’. I was ultimately assaulted not once but twice by the same person. He was head of the Regiment’s boxing team and introduced the motto ‘Fighting Solves Everything’. I also didn’t retaliate as there were junior members present. After the assaults I, (the victim), was taken away from post whilst the assailant was left in post and ultimately promoted.
The Regiment gave me no support or backing. They at first promised me the world in relation to getting me booked on educational courses and rehabilitation programmes. None of which materialised. They realised it would be a logistical nightmare as I had to surrender my licence for at least 6 months. Furthermore they agreed to take me to all my hospital appointments, but rarely did. My wife had to take holiday from work to take me to the majority of these appointments. During my time on sick leave I had no rehabilitation, which is mandatory for service personnel who are wounded, injured or sick. The Army failed to rehabilitate me for a further 3 and a half years until I was sent to Headley Court. In my opinion, if I was given elements of this rehabilitation soon after the haemorrhage I would be a different person today. The lack of backing and support given to me has left me with life changing differences in relation to the person I was prior to the assault. After returning to work I had to beg and borrow lifts to work from people who lived in the local area as yet again the Army’s welfare system failed to pick me up and I had no driving licence for 14 months.
I was prevented from telling my version of events to hierarchy who visited the Regiment or APC Glasgow for 4 years as this would discredit the assailant and the chain of command. SSgt ‘Y’ was then promoted to WO2 and given a Brigade Commanders Commendation for his boxing achievements. My promotion prospects ceased as I was seen to be ‘problem child’ within the Regiment, also my injuries restricted me in competing with my peers for promotion.
I started legal proceedings as a result of the lack of support from my chain of command. The failings in their ‘duty of care’ in accordance with policies and instructions set out by the MoD was another reason for me to take independent legal advice. Even when I told my immediate hierarchy I was taking legal proceedings they didn’t believe me, also reinforcing the ‘problem child’ perception. Luckily as a result of the care and support from my wife in taking me to hospital on the night of the operation I was able to start legal proceedings.
Throughout the legal process the support given by Helen Clifford and her team has been outstanding. Helen is a solicitor who knows which consultants to instruct and represent your case in the best possible way. We have seen some of the country’s leading consultants who also supported and understood our case and were also surprised as to how little the Army has rehabilitated me. For the past 4 years, my wife, daughter and myself the whole legal process has been tiring and a long slog, with no support or backing from the Army. However, Helen has been there to guide, support and advise us all the way. Not only to me but she has always been concerned for the welfare of my wife and daughter too. Helen truly is an admirable lady who our respect for, has grown over the last 4 years throughout the process. Even having been involved in a separate traumatic event that occurred 16 months after the haemorrhage, Helen guided us in the right direction. Helen Clifford, as we have discovered is not your average solicitor, as we have found she is there at the end of the phone or an email 24 hours a day to listen to your concerns or queries about your case. This, in itself, we commend her for. Helen’s devotion to her clients, their family and the case is paramount.
In reference to the outcome, we are pleased that the MoD has settled out of court and justice has been served. However, the settlement will never recoup the injuries and illnesses over the last 4 years and the changes that I continue to live with for my family and myself. My future civilian employment will also have been impacted by what has occurred over the last 4 years. People on the outside and those that have been in charge of me don’t realise what impact the whole event has had on our family. The MoD admitted liability, this is on the basis that they are vicariously liable for the actions of SSgt ‘Y’. It was their intention to seek to recover any outlay they have in the case from SSgt ‘Y’.
My sincere thanks go to my family and close friends for their support over the last 4 years. Especially my wife and daughter, who took me to North Tees Hospital in December 2012 and ultimately saved my life. To Helen Clifford and her team at MW Solicitors for enabling us to now move on with our lives and future in 2017 and beyond. Thank You."
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