MoD pays out £2.4m to Kosovan shot in the jaw (UK)
A Kosovan man shot in the jaw by a British soldier has been awarded £2.4 million compensation after suing the Ministry of Defence.
The sum is more than eight times the maximum damages available to UK troops seriously injured abroad, and has been criticised by the relatives of disabled veterans.
Muhamet Bici was shot in face by paratroopers guarding a building in Pristina, the Kosovan capital, in 1999.
He had been in a car with other men who were firing weapons into the air to celebrate a national holiday, and a Military Police investigation ruled the soldiers should face no charges as they feared their lives were in danger.
Mr Bici was flown to the UK but had his face rebuilt on the NHS, but he was still given legal aid to sue the Ministry of Defence. His claim was settled last year, but the details were only revealed yesterday in a new report into financial claims against the MoD.
The maximum compensation for injured British troops is currently pegged at £285,000.
Lance Bombardier Ben Parkinson, who was described by doctors as the most severely wounded British soldier ever to survive after a landmine explosion, losing both legs and suffering 36 other injuries, was originally awarded only £152,150, until a public outcry forced the MoD to raise his payout.
His mother Diane Dernie said she found it "difficult to understand" why Mr Bici received so much more than her son, who fought in Afghanistan.
"If a civilian's injury is due to negligence they can sue the MoD and get a huge settlement," she told the Daily Mail
"But if a soldier suffers the same injury in combat they can't, and they get a fraction."
An MoD spokesman said that civil payouts could not be compared with the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme, which also officers annual income for life. The maximum lump sum for which injured British troops are eligible will soon be doubled to £570,000, he added.
Von: 06.11.2008, by Matthew Moore, www.telegraph.co.uk