Written on . Posted in Forces Personnel News

The Daily Telegraph reports that a lesbian soldier who won nearly £190,000 damages following a campaign of harassment by a male sergeant has had her payout slashed by a third after Army top brass appealed.

Former Lance Bombardier Kerry Fletcher was awarded £186,896 by an Employment Tribunal for her treatment at the Royal Artillery stables at RAF Topcliffe in North Yorkshire in 2004.

Miss Fletcher, 32, of Birmingham, won her tribunal payout last November.

The sergeant had made sexual advances towards her and bragged he could turn her straight, the original tribunal heard.

Veterans groups were outraged by the size of the original payout which exceeds awards for injury in combat such as the £161,000 given to Marine Ben McBean, 21, who lost an arm and a leg in Afghanistan.

The MoD challenged the £50,000 payout in exemplary damages - which are awarded to punish the offender - and were believed to be the first awarded by an employment tribunal.

It also questioned the £20,000 in aggravated damages - which are awarded when a person has suffered malice - they were ordered to pay.

It has emerged that Ms Fletcher's payout had been slashed by at least £62,000, with the eventual reduction expected to be higher when interest is factored in.

The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) had determined that the original hearing had "erred" in its remedy judgements and "allowed" the MoD's challenge.

The panel - chaired by Mrs Justice Slade - described the aggravated damages as "perversely high" and cut the figure down to £8,000. They ordered that interest attached to that payout should be "accordingly reduced".

The exemplary damages were also deemed to be "unsustainable" and the whole of the £50,000 initially awarded was 'set aside'.

... After announcing its decision that the compensation should be reduced, the tribunal added: "The conduct of the Army which led to the proceedings successfully pursued by Ms Fletcher was rightly condemned by the ET. "We hope that lessons have been learned and that such behaviour will not be repeated." ...