Injured soldier Daniel Twiddy wins right to sue Ministry of Defence for negligence

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A former soldier has won a landmark case in the Court of Appeal for the right to sue the Ministry of Defence for negligence.

Daniel Twiddy, 32, of Pauleys Court, Stamford, said he was “pleased that we have finally got a result” following the ruling on Friday.

The claim was brought by Mr Twiddy after he suffered facial injuries when his Challenger II tank was mistakenly fired at during an assault in Basra in March 2003.

Cpl Stephen Albutt, from Stoke-on-Trent, was killed in the incident and Trooper Andy Julien, of Bolton, was severely wounded.

Cpl Albutt’s widow Debi and Mr Julien also brought the claim, arguing the tank was not equipped with the right technology and that they not been given adequate vehicle recognition training.

The family of Pte Lee Ellis, who was killed in 2006, were also part of the claim.

They were initially given the right to sue in a High Court ruling last June. But the Ministry of Defence appealed against that ruling.

In the Court of Appeal, Lord Neuberger said: “The duty of care owed by the Ministry of Defence, as employer, to the members of the armed forces, as employees, does exist and has been recognised, without demur, by the courts.

“It includes a duty to provide safe systems of work and safe equipment.”

He said the negligence claims were arguable.

Mr Twiddy was a lance corporal in the Tank Regiment of the Queen’s Royal Lancers.

He was medically discharged from the Army in 2005 and now runs a plastering business.

Mr Twiddy said despite the result, there was still a “long way to go”.

He said the next step would be to offer the Ministry of Defence the chance to settle out of court.

But added: “Ultimately we are trying to change what’s happening to soldiers going forward. It is not about the compensation.”

The Ministry of Defence said it was considering the judgement.

In the ruling last week, the Court of Appeal threw out a separate application by the families of Pte Ellis and two other soldiers killed in similar incidents that they were entitled to damages under the Human Rights Act.

They were given leave to appeal to the Supreme Court.