THE sacked first associate concert master of the Hongkong Philharmonic told the High Court yesterday it was just bad luck that he tripped over a rolled-up carpet at City Hall which had been in the same place for years. Cross-examined by Mr Thomas Lai, representing the Urban Council, violinist Mr Marcus Lehmann said he had negotiated the narrow corridor and the carpet many times. On the night of the accident, December 13, 1986, he said the orchestra had left double bass cases open on the corridor opposite the carpet, but this was usual. At the time, he was preoccupied with the concert and just caught the end of his shoe on the carpet. He is suing the Urban Council for about $2 million damages arising from injuries sustained in the fall. The Urban Council is seeking indemnity from the Hongkong Philharmonic, and Mr Lehmann claims that as a result of that, he was sacked in January. He went on to tell the court he believed he had had a raw deal from the Philharmonic. He used to be on good terms with the general manager, Mr Stephen Crabtree, but their relationship became hostile at about the time the Urban Council notified the Philharmonic it was seeking an indemnity. He said it seemed as if they were trying to find fault with him as he had received two letters complaining about small matters and Mr Crabtree had deliberately omitted his name from the programme as concert leader. He was the only player this year to be told his contract would not be renewed. Earlier, Mr Lehmann told the court that after an operation to transpose a nerve in his arm following his fall, it was 10 months before he could rejoin the orchestra. However, Mr Crabtree, insisted he go back as associate concert master. He said the concert leader until 1989 was Mr Miran Kojian, who earned at least three times as much as him, and possibly five or six times. Yet he said Mr Kojian rarely came to work, and he often had to stand in. Before the accident, Mr Lehmann was paid about $1,600 if he acted as concert master, but afterwards he was paid nothing. He said the orchestra was getting a very expensive deal with Mr Kojian and a very cheap deal from him. In both the 1987 and 1988 seasons he led the orchestra more than 50 per cent of the time. Mr Jae Park replaced Mr Kojian, but when Mr Lehmann returned to the orchestra after an unrelated bone disease in 1990 after seven months' absence, Mr Park was sacked. Mr Lehmann said no one asked him to act as concert master, he was just expected to do the job. The hearing continues.