A Royal Marine lost his temper when a colleague teased him about failing a fitness test and punched him in the face so hard he needed dental surgery, declared a court martial.
Lance Corporal Timothy Attard went wild with a bottle of beer in his hand and left Marine Scott Maw with a scarred lip and a chipped tooth after he got angry at the young man pushing him.
The 31-year-old felt humiliated for failing a “rigorous” test that all Marines must take every year, the court heard.
It involves a circuit of 20 burpees, 30 sit-ups, 20 push-ups, and a one-minute plank that must be completed four times, along with five pull-ups after a two-minute break.
When Marine Maw taunted him on a drunken night out and repeatedly said he didn’t deserve to be a Marine, LCpl Attard punched him hard in the face.
LCpl Attard, of Commando Equipment Squadron based at RMB Chivenor, Devon, was taken from the pub by friends and later admitted one count of actual bodily harm.
He has now been demoted to the rank of Marine and given a six-month suspended prison sentence. But a judge ruled that Marine Maw would not receive any compensation because he was “the author of his own misfortune”.
Bulford Military Court, Wilts, heard the couple – who did not know each other before the incident on July 20 last year – had been drinking with colleagues at a pub in Barnstaple, Devon.
The audience was informed that LCpl Attard did not pass his last fitness test as he was injured.
Captain James Farrant, prosecuting, told the hearing: “While drinking in a tavern … Marine Maw told Attard, if he had failed his fitness test, he shouldn’t be a bootneck [a nickname used to refer to Royal Marines]. He said it several times during the evening. Attard walked around the table and punched him in the face.”
The court heard Marine Maw had a scar on her upper lip and her tooth had been ‘permanently damaged’.
Captain Farrant added that in the aftermath, Attard sent Marine Maw a regretful text, asking to meet and apologize.
One part read, “That was out of place and fucking gross. Hope you’re okay.”
Hearing told Marine Maw’s friends told him to stop ‘goading’ LCpl Attard after calling him ‘unfit’ and ‘s***c** * ”.
LCpl Attard’s attorney John Paul Fitzgibbon said that because Marines are ‘the cream of the crop’, failing a physical fitness test is particularly ‘humiliating’, even if there was a ‘genuine reason’ not to succeed.
Sentencing the commando, Judge Advocate Alistair McGrigor, said: “Marine Maw learned of your failure and proceeded to urge you relentlessly for some time to be out of shape. You had clearly been drinking alcohol and your judgment was impaired. You, as you know, should have left. Instead, you lost your temper and punched Marine Maw once in the face.
“We know you had a bottle in your hand, but we don’t consider you used it as a weapon. We accept that you punched him in the face. You immediately apologized and texted him at “That effect. You have fully admitted and pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity. We consider this to be genuine remorse.”
Attard, who was previously of good character, will serve a six-month custodial sentence suspended for 18 months.