Disappointment for Norfolk vets over atomic test ruling

There was disappointment for Norfolk atomic test veterans today as the Ministry of Defence won the bulk of its appeal against a court ruling which allowed Britain's atomic test veterans to claim damages.

Last June High Court judge Mr Justice Foskett ruled that 10 test cases out of 1,011 claims could proceed to full trial.

The servicemen blame their ill health including cancer skin defects and fertility problems on involvement in Britain's 1950s nuclear tests on the Australian mainland, Monte Bello islands and Christmas Island between 1952 and 1958.

But the MoD while acknowledging the debt of gratitude' owed launched an appeal against the judge's decision to reject its claim that they were all launched outside the legal time limit saying the veterans were entitled to their day in court,

David Freeman 71 from Thorpe St Andrew was a member of the Royal Air Force on Christmas Island in the South Pacific during nuclear bomb tests in November 1957 He said at the time: 'Obviously we want the appeal to fail It's been a dirty tricks game right from the start.'

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The MoD, while acknowledging its 'debt of gratitude', denies negligence and fought the cases on the basis that they were all launched outside the legal time limit.

Today Lady Justice Smith, Lord Justice Leveson and Sir Mark Waller ruled that nine out of the 10 cases were statute-barred, while the tenth, that of the late Bert Sinfield, was entitled to proceed to trial.

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