DAMAGES… Michael Cosby shows the effects of being struck by a plastic bullet THESE are the horrific pictures of plastic bullet victims which last night prompted a solicitor to demand the weapons be banned. Four people were awarded substantial damages in the high court in Belfast yesterday after being wounded by baton rounds during riots surrounding the Drumcree standoff of 1996. It came in the same week as the British government insisted it would continue to use plastic baton rounds during civil disturbances. The photographs were released exclusively to the Irish News. One of the four, a former British army soldier, yesterday endorsed the call for a ban. Michael Cosby, a 36-year-old father of three from Prestwick Drive in north Belfast, was awarded damages of £115,000 but said it was a paltry sum considering what he had suffered. While performing a Good Samaritan act in July 1996, Mr Cosby was struck in the face by a plastic bullet fired by a policeman, which cost him the sight of his right eye. “I have lost all my faith in the police service ­ I was walking along a public highway when I was shot. How can I explain to my children that this act was committed by a member of the police force?” he said. “These bullets should be outlawed ­ innocent children could be killed. I’m a grown man and it nearly killed me, and I’ve been left with impaired vision for the rest of my life.” As well as being fitted with an artificial eye, Mr Cosby also had to have surgery to repair injuries to his nose and face. He said he was particularly bitter that the policeman involved has been identified but not charged. Two other Belfast men who suffered eye injuries after being hit by plastic bullets in different incidents were also awarded damages. Paul Morris (25) from Divismore Crescent, got £20,000 and Robert Milliken (23) from Glencolin Heights, both west Belfast, received £5,000. Nicola Duffy (25), from Farringdon Gardens, Ardoyne, who suffered post traumatic stress disorder after a serious thigh injury caused by a plastic bullet, was awarded £12,500. In each case the defendant was the chief constable of the RUC. Solicitor Eamann McMenamin of Madden and Finucane, who represented all four, said the cases illustrated the misuse of plastic bullets as the regulations stated they should not strike anyone above the waist. Mr McMenamin said over 6,000 plastic bullets had been fired during the short period in July 1996, when his four clients were injured. “I am acting on behalf of 23 people who sustained serious injuries caused by plastic bullets and the general picture that emerges is that there was no accountability for the individual rounds which caused the injuries,” said Mr McMenamin.“Despite complaints being lodged, no action was taken against the named police officer who fired the bullet which cost Mr Cosby the sight of an eye.”