(Picture: MOD).
Veterans

Ex-Royal Marine Awarded £545k In Damages From MOD Over Hearing Loss

Alistair Inglis served for nearly 15 years in the military before leaving in May 2012.

(Picture: MOD).

The judge ruled that the MOD must pay Mr Inglis £545,766.60 (Picture: MOD).

A former Royal Marine has been awarded more than £500,000 damages for noise-induced hearing loss suffered during his military service.

Alistair Inglis, who served for nearly 15 years, said he left the Marines in May 2012 to work in maritime security because of his concerns about his "deteriorating levels of hearing".

The Ministry of Defence (MOD) had admitted his hearing loss and tinnitus arose "as a result of his negligent exposure to noise whilst serving in the Royal Marines", and agreed that liability should be split "80:20 in the claimant's favour".

But the MOD disputed the amount of damages Mr Inglis, from Plymouth, was entitled to, arguing that he left voluntarily while still "fit for all duties".

Giving judgment at the High Court in London on Wednesday, Judge Peter Marquand found that the 39-year-old "left the Royal Marines because of his hearing loss".

The judge ruled that the MOD must pay Mr Inglis £545,766.60, including more than £200,000 to cover future loss of earnings and just over £280,000 for future loss of pension.

Judge Marquand said an application by the MOD for permission to appeal against his ruling had been refused.

Mr Inglis' lawyers said after the ruling that they have more than 2,200 other cases and are being contacted by service personnel with debilitating hearing problems on a daily basis.

Mr Healey blamed his hearing loss to his time in the Royal Marines (Picture: MOD).
Mr Healey blamed his hearing loss to his time in the Royal Marines (Picture: MOD).

Simon Ellis, a partner at Hugh James who represents Mr Inglis, said the compensation recognised the "significant impact that Mr Inglis's injuries will have on his earning capacity, both now and for much of the rest of his life":

"The award announced today goes some way to allowing Mr Inglis to move on with his life after his employer failed to protect him, in a job where he was putting his life on the line to protect his country."

At a hearing in March, Mr Inglis's barrister Harry Steinberg QC told the court his client enlisted in February 1997, aged 17, for a "22-year open engagement".

He was first deployed in Northern Ireland, and later served in Afghanistan, where he was a "section commander in Helmand province" and "repeatedly came under fire", Mr Steinberg said.

He said Mr Inglis became his platoon's weapons instructor and was promoted to corporal in 2005, adding that both were "prestigious positions of responsibility and trust".

He submitted that Mr Inglis - who now works as a health and safety officer - intended to serve more than his 22 years, if possible, but "his situation changed for the worse as a result of the damage to his hearing".

Mr Steinberg said Mr Inglis applied to leave the Marines seven months after he had been selected for promotion to sergeant, and would have been in line for a full pension immediately on serving his full 22 years.

He argued that it was "highly unlikely that [Mr Inglis] would have abandoned his successful military career and those mid-term financial rewards had it not been for his noise-induced hearing problems".

He said that Mr Inglis's hearing deficit was "equivalent to that of a man in his early 70s" and would "inevitably get worse as he ages".

Sam Healey, for the MOD, submitted that there was "no prospect of [Mr Inglis] being medically discharged in the foreseeable future" when he left the Marines.

He said Mr Inglis left "to pursue a career in maritime security, at the time a lucrative line of work for Royal Marines looking for a change of career", and that he earned "considerably more" in his maritime security role than as a Marine.

Mr Healey added that it was "likely that [Mr Inglis] would have been offered employment in a specialisation with reduced noise exposure" if he had remained in the Marines.