Ten PSNI cases thrown out of court

Mr Justice Patrick Coghlin has thrown out claims from all ten of the main complainants in the McClurg case against the Police Authority for Northern Ireland (PSNI) and the Chief Constable, in which former PSNI officers were claiming compensation for psychological damage.

While recognising that there were "systemic failures" in the treatment for mental disorders in the force after 1988, the judge said that the plaintiffs had not actively sought help from the Occupational Health Unit, which was set up in 1986.

In some of the plaintiff's cases, he said claims of distress were exaggerated

In James Spencer Beggs' case, Mr Justice Coghlin told Belfast's High Court, that due to the "macho culture" in the services the former sergeant was unlikely to have sought treatment for his trauma even if an adequate system had been in place.

Mr Beggs had been injured during a bomb attack in Newry in 1980 and in 1985 four of his colleagues were blown up by a bomb in front of him.

Although the claimants in the McClurg case were denied compensation, Dorcas Crawford, a solicitor representing several officers, remained optimistic. She said: "The door remains opened. The judge saw ten cases out of 5,000-odd and these were difficult cases. There would have been no point in us putting forward easy cases."

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