A decorated Army officer has accused British lawyers of aggravating the Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder he and his soldiers suffered as a result of serving in the Iraq War.
Colonel James Coote, of the Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment (PWRR), says that the solicitors who pursued false claims of murder and torture against British soldiers added to the intense stress of those who served in the war.
He said he suffered years of sleep disorder and was sometimes unable to control his temper as a result both of what he experienced in Iraq and the subsequent legal process.
Col Coote, who was in command of C Company of the regiment's First Battalion at the time, told the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT) on Tuesday: "I had some treatment for sleep disorders after my return from Iraq. Some of those symptoms returned. My concentration was much shorter, my temperament was much shorter.
"I recognise that these have been exacerbated by the fact we went through this process for another couple of years after 2008."
The claims against British troops followed the deployment of troops from 1PWRR against insurgents from the Mahdi Army who had ambushed their fellow units from the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders.
During an intense firefight - known as the Battle of Danny Boy - more than 20 Iraqis were killed and nine others were later detained and taken to nearby Camp Abu Naji.
Lawyers Leigh Day pursued damages claims against the Ministry of Defence (MoD) over the alleged mistreatment and unlawful killing of captives at the British-run camp, claims which the long-running Al-Sweady Inquiry later dismissed as "false".
The firm is accused of earning millions of pounds by claiming British troops murdered and tortured innocent Iraqis, by seeking "maximum publicity and furore".
Now the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) is alleging that Leigh Day, and its partners Martyn Day and Sapna Malik continued to act for the claimants despite having evidence that it was "improper".
The tribunal panel was also told that without the firm's failures the £29m public inquiry into the claims of murder and torture by UK soldiers would not have taken place.
Mr Day and Ms Malik face 16 charges of misconduct, while solicitor Anna Crowther faces four, including an allegation of destroying a key document. The firm is charged with 11 counts.
All deny any wrongdoing.
Col Coote, who was awarded an OBE for his service in Afghanistan, said: "What I can say is that 13 years later, individual soldiers, not the MoD but individual soldiers, have been put through a very harrowing process, which has added stress, added strain to their lives."
The 45-year-old, who has served in the Army for 25 years and received the Distinguished Service Order for service during combat, said some of his troops had also suffered psychological trauma.
He said: "I'm not qualified to say whether they had PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). I'm clear some of the symptoms they've suffered have been described separately as PTSD. They've certainly been under a lot of stress and strain."
Col Coote, who appeared before the tribunal wearing his Army uniform, also said he was angry at the way the allegations against British troops had been made public.
Another legal firm involved in the case, Public Interest Lawyers (PIL) subsequently closed down and its lead lawyer, Phil Shiner, was struck off for misconduct by the SRA as a result of his actions.