Rory Gellatly v. John “Dirtbag” Doe

Rory was a Professional Hunter working in Zambia as a guide for safari hunter clients.  Dirtbag was a client who designed and manufactured a novel style of bolt action rifle.  He invited Rory to fire it.  The barrel burst, tearing Rory’s right hand (he shot left handed) apart.  Rory barely survived evacuation from Zambia (with his right hand sewn inside the skin of his abdomen) to South Africa.

After many surgeries in South Africa, Rory emerged with two of his toes attached to the stub of his right hand.  He could only barely shake hands better than a dog offering a paw.  Rory had dual South African and Canadian citizenship and was finally able to bring suit in Canada.

Rory’s Canadian attorney approached myself as a firearms design and firearms manufacture expert.  I took the case.  In examining the evidence, it was obvious that the rifle was defective in both design and manufacture.  Dirtbag had tried using a single piece of steel in which he bored and rifled the barrel and machined the receiver.

A receiver is the part which holds all the other working and moving parts of the mechanism.   The barrel then screws into the receiver.  The metallurgic imperatives; in alloy, in hardness, and in everything else; necessitates that the barrel and the receiver be manufactured separately.

Dirtbag not only tried to make it all from one piece of steel but he did not even do the testing to prove out his idea.  Further, Dirtbag did not comply with the standards set by the Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers Institute (SAAMI), nor with the standards of the Commissione Internationale Permanente (CIP).   And even worse, Canada and most countries in Africa are CIP signatory countries and Dirtbag snuck his rifle past Zambian customs, thereby avoiding the mandatory testing which CIP specifies.

This skullduggery was even more glaring because Dirtbag was a manufacturer of automotive and other metal parts.  He  did know about metallurgy, retention of manufacturing drawings, and all sorts of other issues which were glaringly absent for this rifle.  Further, he did know about manufacturer’s institutes (such as automotive) and the standards which they set for the safety of the consuming public.  Standards with which he did comply in his automotive business.  And his auto parts manufacturing business had made him fabulously wealthy.

However, Dirtbag was also a very major donor to Safari Club International.  Rather than pay just compensation, Dirtbag hired a group of high powered lawyers to make the path difficult.  Through his connections to SCI, Dirtbag did his best to destroy Rory professionally and forever keep him from earning a living.

I submitted a report to Rory’s attorney and was prepared to travel to Canada to testify.  As a firearms design and a firearms manufacture expert, I emphasized all the foregoing points, and more, in my report.  After some months, the defense settled.  When Rory’s attorney called to notify me, I asked why.  She replied that the opposing attorney told her, “We could not find anyone willing to contradict Col. Alphin’s opinion.”.

Score one for Rory; he is back to work.

Dirtbag is still wealthy, is still a shaker and mover in SCI (and shall therefore remain anonymous).  And I wonder if the Simon Wiesenthal folks will ever catch up to him (as he was also a Nazi camp guard, tells you everything about his morals).