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An ex-Royal Marine bandsman, whose chances of promotion were wrecked after he was ordered to take part in a route march when he was medically unfit to do so, has won almost £70,000 in compensation from the Ministry of Defence (MoD).
The French horn player had been suffering cramps in his legs and swelling in his calf muscles, and military medics had ruled him unfit to run or take part in basic training. However, during a promotion selection course, he was ordered to march three kilometres, carrying a pack which weighed 75-80 kg.
He fell three times during the exercise and crossed the finishing line five minutes after other participants. He had to withdraw from the course, dashing his hope of achieving promotion to corporal, and was subsequently discharged from the Royal Marines on medical grounds.
In upholding his claim, a judge ruled that, due to his medical condition, he should not have been ordered to carry such a heavy pack. He was unfit to take part in the march at anything more than a walk. He was awarded £66,459 in damages for his pain, suffering and losses of amenity, pay and pension rights.
In dismissing the MoD's challenge to that decision, the Court of Appeal rejected arguments that the judge had misunderstood important parts of the evidence relating to the bandsman's level of fitness and promotion prospects. The MoD was also ordered to pay the substantial legal costs of the case.