Sunday 8 December 2019

Court martial clears medic of insubordination

Sergeant Michelle Bramley leaving the court martial at McKee Barracks. Picture: Steve Humphreys
Sergeant Michelle Bramley leaving the court martial at McKee Barracks. Picture: Steve Humphreys

Emma Jane Hade

A charge of insubordination against an army medic has been quashed by a military appeals court.

Sergeant Michelle Bramley was overcome with emotion as Judge Colonel Michael Campion told her that he had found in favour of her appeal over a charge of "insubordination" against Regimental Quartermaster Christopher Feeney while on duty in the Lebanon last year.

During her cross examination, the court martial in McKee Barracks yesterday heard that Sergeant Bramley felt "freaked out" during the verbal row, which happened in the camp cookhouse on December 14.


The 36-year-old was alleged to have told her superior to "get lost" and then reportedly failed to follow his orders after he quizzed her about an appointment with the doctor.

On the evening prior to the incident, Sgt Bramley was part of a group of medics in the base clinic that had advised the NCO that non-emergency cases would be dealt with for 30 minutes from 6pm that evening, as he had presented with an ailment.

It is understood that RQ Feeney did attend the clinic that evening, but left shortly before the doctor arrived late.

"He came up beside me, and he said 'what time did the doctor arrive?'," Sgt Bramley told the court, adding that he said: "You told me to be there at six."

"He was aggressive, he was angry, his face was all red and distorted," she said.

Sgt Bramley said that she reminded herself to remain calm during the argument, before excusing herself.

"I was freaked out, I didn't know what he wanted from me, it was intimidating."

Private Andrew Coffey was eating at the table which Sgt Bramley said she joined after answering the RQ's questions, and he told the court that he witnessed RQ Feeney approach Sgt Bramley again, stoop beside her seat and that he "snookered" her with his posture.


Sgt Bramley told the court that RQ Feeney then demanded that the she speak to him outside in 10 minutes, but she retreated to her bedroom, leaving her food untouched, as she had become too upset.

After being comforted by a colleague Sgt Feeney sent for Company Sergeant Cornelius O'Brien, who then made the decision to visit the RQ instead.

The court heard that at the time of the incident in the Lebanon, Sgt Feeney was a Corporal but was promoted just three weeks later.

Sgt Bramley, who has almost 15 years experience in the Defence Forces, was hugged by her sister as Judge Colonel Campion delivered his verdict, quashing her charge.

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