Sussex

Cleared diplomat John Yapp awarded £320,000 in damages

John Yapp Image copyright BBC news grab
Image caption John Yapp was removed from his post in Belize following the sexual misconduct allegation

A diplomat stripped of his post as UK High Commissioner to Belize after being falsely accused of sexual misconduct has been awarded £320,000 in damages.

John Yapp, of Eastbourne, East Sussex, lost his post in 2008 over claims he inappropriately touched women.

The allegations were dropped but he then faced claims he had bullied staff.

The High Court ruled last month that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) had breached his contract and its duty of care to him.

The FCO said it was "disappointed with the finding", and believed it had "acted reasonably, and in accordance with procedures".

Following the damages award, Mr Yapp's solicitor, John Kings, said his client was pleased that "justice has prevailed after what have been five long and hard - and very costly - years".

'Career destroyed'

He added: "I hope that the FCO will be investigating the matter with those responsible for the decisions so wrongly made and taking action in order to ensure that such blatantly unfair and damaging treatment is not repeated."

Mr Yapp had an unblemished diplomatic career for 37 years before a former foreign minister in Belize alleged he had inappropriately touched women.

Three days later, on 13 June 2008, he was told that his position was untenable and was withdrawn from the post with immediate effect.

The allegation was dismissed in August of that year following a disciplinary hearing.

But Mr Yapp said the FCO "tried to build up the bullying allegations because suddenly they realised they had withdrawn a high commissioner quite unjustly".

He said he was withdrawn from Belize "without any fair treatment", destroying his career and causing his health to suffer.

Mr Yapp, who retired in 2011 after being on sick leave, said it had all been "profoundly humiliating" and his prospects were "no longer what they once would have been if this action had not been so wrongly taken against me".

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