'Dishonest' ex-Army soldier exaggerated injury, High Court judge rules
‘Dishonest’ ex-British Army soldier exaggerated his trench foot injury in bid to sue the MoD for more than £1.5M, High Court judge rules
- Michael Mantey filed a ‘clearly dishonest’ damages claim alleging negligence
- Judge ruled he exaggerated the severity of his injuries ‘for financial gain’
A former British Army soldier was ‘clearly dishonest’ and exaggerated his trench foot injury when he sued the Ministry of Defence for more than £1.5million, a High Court judge has ruled.
Michael Mantey, 39, was medically discharged from the Army in 2020 after having suffered a ‘minor’ non-freezing cold injury.
He later filed a damages claim alleging negligence and said he was suffering ‘sundry continuing disabling symptoms’.
Today, a judge ruled that Mr Mantey had been ‘fundamentally dishonest’ in his claim and claimed he suffered a more serious injury ‘for financial gain’.
Michael Mantey, 39, (pictured) was medically discharged from the Army in 2020 after having suffered a ‘minor’ non-freezing cold injury. He later filed a damages claim alleging negligence and said he was suffering ‘sundry continuing disabling symptoms’
Mr Mantey, who was born in Ghana, enlisted in the British Army in 2009, the High Court hearing in London heard.
In 2017, he had been serving with 26 Engineer Regiment and was deployed to Estonia. Mr Mantey was evacuated back to the UK on the basis of having suffered a non-freezing cold injury – and medically discharged from the Army in 2020.
The soldier alleged negligence and said he was suffering ‘sundry continuing disabling symptoms’.
Outlined in a written ruling published today Mr Justice Eyre, concluded Mr Mantey suffered a ‘minor’ non-freezing cold injury, but ‘dishonestly portrayed himself as having suffered a more serious injury which had a continuing and disabling effect’.
The judge, after considering competing arguments from lawyers representing Mr Mantey and the Ministry of Defence, said Mr Mantey did that ‘for financial gain’.
Mr Justice Eyre said Mr Mantey had discontinued his claim after the Ministry of Defence disclosed ‘video-recorded surveillance evidence’ which was said to be ‘inconsistent with the alleged symptoms’.
Footage, taken in September 2021, ‘showed discrepancies’ between Mr Mantey’s actions ‘before and after a medical examination’, said the judge.
The Ministry of Defence argued that there was ‘deliberate malingering’.
Mr Mantey denied that allegation and said his presentation at an examination was ‘genuine’.
He said ‘greater activity’ shown in surveillance footage was ‘atypical’ and the ‘result of his medication’ and of ‘support and encouragement’ from a neighbour.
Mr Justice Eyre said he had to decide whether the explanation for ‘the discrepancy’ was a ‘deliberately false presentation’, whether there was ‘dishonesty’ on the part of Mr Mantey and whether such dishonesty meant that the claim was ‘fundamentally dishonest’.
Today, a judge ruled that Mr Mantey (pictured with his wife Georgette Fynn-Mantey) had been ‘fundamentally dishonest’ in his claim and claimed he suffered a more serious injury ‘for financial gain’
He concluded that Mr Mantey’s claim had been ‘fundamentally dishonest’.
‘I find on the balance of probabilities that the claimant suffered a minor … injury from which he had fully recovered at some point before September 2021,’ said the judge.
‘The claimant dishonestly portrayed himself as having suffered a more serious injury which had a continuing and disabling effect doing so for financial gain.’
He added: ‘That dishonesty tainted the whole of the claim.’
The judge went on: ‘Putting it shortly there was dishonesty as to a central feature of the case namely the extent and continuing effect of the Claimant’s injuries.
‘This would have the effect of substantially increasing the value of the claim over the value of any properly tenable claim and pervaded the presentation of the case from at the latest early September 2021 onwards.
‘In those circumstances I find the claim to be fundamentally dishonest.’
Mr Mantey said he had: struggled with ‘poor balance’ due to pain in his feet and legs and could not ‘walk for long distances’; often felt ‘low’; was ‘unable to drive long distances’; and found it ‘difficult to concentrate for longer periods of time’ due to the ‘amount of pain’ he was in.
The judge said surveillance footage showed Mr Mantey: walking with a ‘normal gait without limping and without using either a stick or a crutch’; ‘carrying a garden parasol’; and ‘subsequently wheeling a concrete parasol base – bending his back at about 90 degrees to do so’.
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