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Family of Royal Marine Take Case to Appeal Court

A family trying to get compensation after a former Royal Marine was killed in a plane crash have taken their case to the Appeal Court in London this week.

Orlando Rogers was only 26 when he took a private flight in a 1930s Tiger Moth aircraft with pilot Scott Hoyle in May 2011. The aircraft crashed at Witchampton, between Wimborne Minster and Blandford Forum in Dorset and Mr Rogers died from his injuries.

He had previously served with Bickleigh-based 42 Commando and had been deployed in Afghanistan and Northern Ireland, but had left the Marines to set up a maritime security business that also employed several of his previous comrades.

Mr Rogers' mother Julia and sister Jade Rogers are seeking a six-figure sum in compensation from Mr Hoyle, claiming that it was his negligence that caused the crash, the Plymouth Herald reports.

Last year, they secured a minor victory after a judge ruled that a report from the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) could be used as part of their case, but Mr Hoyle has appealed against this decision.

The AAIB document supports the family's claim that the pilot had been attempting to perform a loop when the accident occurred and an eyewitness at the time told BBC News that they had seen it "doing aerobatics" shortly beforehand.

However, Mr Hoyle denies he was in any way responsible for the crash and has blamed a technical fault with the plane for the tragedy.

His lawyers want the AIB document ruling out because it contains "fact and opinion evidence which do not meet the criteria for admissibility" in an English civil court.

Mr Rogers' family's lawyer insists the report should form part of the case because there is no legal reason for it to be ruled out, plus it contains "highly relevant" material.

The case at the Appeals Court continues. If Mr Rogers' family does succeed, a precedent could be set for further claims brought about by the victims of UK air crashes.

By Francesca Witney