A former Royal Marine who claims he suffered violent racial abuse while a member of the forces was barred by the High Court from suing the Ministry of Defence for pounds 750,000 damages yesterday.
Deputy judge John Griffith Williams ruled that Mark Parchment had left it too long to bring an action after he went on the run from his unit for five years in 1989.
Mr Parchment, 29, whose father was Jamaican and mother English, told the hearing last month that throughout his training he was ordered to carry a spear as well as his rifle and was called “nigger” and “black bastard” by NCOs.
He said he was finally forced to flee his unit after being subjected to a violent assault and mock crucifixion which left him in fear of his life.
The judge said that if Mr Parchment was telling the truth, he was “treated appallingly” and this would have amounted to racial discrimination.
But he said that the allegations were outside the six-year limitation period for bringing a civil action and three-year time limit under the Race Relations Act and were therefore time-barred.
John Mackenzie, who represented Mr Parchment at the hearing, said after the judgment that he was considering taking the case to the Court of Appeal.
“This man did not realise that he was suffering from a psychiatric condition brought on by his treatment in the Marines until 1996.
“The judge’s ruling that he should have brought an action within six years under civil law or three years under the Race Relations Act highlights a weakness in the law.
“There are major inadequacies in the limitation laws in personal injuries.”
Mr Parchment, who is now unemployed and lives with his 27-year-old girlfriend Vanessa Taub in London, said he was “very disappointed” with the ruling but would continue trying to prove that his services career was destroyed by his treatment at the hands of racists within the Marines.
“What has happened today has not helped. I have very little faith left in myself and all I wanted was for my case to be heard.”
Mr Mackenzie told the judge at the January hearing that Mr Parchment’s psychological injuries were so severe that he was unable to work or live a normal life.
The solicitor advocate said the blame lay with the Ministry of Defence which owed a duty of care to the soldier during his training and service and should have been aware of the abuse.
Tuesday, 24 February 1998