Barrack Room Lawers

Discussion in 'The Intelligence Cell' started by Spank-it, Feb 22, 2011.

Welcome to the Army Rumour Service, ARRSE

The UK's largest and busiest UNofficial military website.

The heart of the site is the forum area, including:

  1. Here's the case for discussion.

    Court martial proceedings:

    A Canadian soldier charged with second-degree murder in the shooting death of a wounded Taliban insurgent in Afghanistan.

    Capt. Robert Semrau faced a military judge and five panel members on the murder charge and three other charges: attempting to commit murder, behaving in a disgraceful manner and negligently performing a military duty.

    According to a joint statement by defence and prosecution lawyers. Semrau's troops were on patrol Oct. 19, 2008, when they were ambushed by Taliban insurgents in Helmand province.

    His group, which included 100 Afghan National Army troops, was able to gain control. Two Taliban fighters were found: one dead, the other severely wounded.

    The insurgent casualty was wounded too severely for any treatment in the field, the statement says.

    Semrau was left alone with the injured man and two shots were heard, according to the statement. The statement claims an unnamed witness interviewed by military investigators will testify he saw Semrau shoot the man.

    The body was left behind and not recovered.

    Semrau had served three years with the British army, including deployments in Macedonia and Afghanistan, according to documents presented at his hearing.

    He left with an "exemplary discharge" and joined the Canadian Forces in 2005, where his record was unblemished until the charges were laid.


    Defence & Prosecutor Arguments:

    Cpl. Steven Fournier, the youngest member of Capt. Semrau’s mentoring team, told the court martial that he heard the captain fire two shots in the direction of the downed Taliban fighter. Capt. Semrau allegedly told him he could not have lived with himself had he left an injured human being in that condition.

    Minutes later, Cpl. Fournier said, the team huddled on the battlefield and Capt. Semrau told them it had been a “mercy killing.”

    However, Capt. Semrau’s second-in-command, Warrant Officer Merlin Longaphie, said no battlefield meeting took place that day and Capt. Semrau never made such a confession.

    Prosecutor Lt.-Col. Mario Leveillee argued that the case had indeed been established, particularly when combined with the physical evidence. Two expended cartridge casings were recovered from the scene; a ballistics expert testified they were fired from Capt. Semrau’s C-8 rifle.

    Defence lawyer Maj. Steven Turner, It was also unclear, he argued, whether the Taliban fighter was alive at the time of the alleged shooting, or had already died of his wounds — the result of being shot from a tree by an Apache helicopter.


    Now obviously anyone can Google the case and find out what happened at the sentencing but I would think it more interesting to see if this could be debated by the Intelligentsia on Arrse.

    IS there a case for a "Mercy" Killing ?

    should Soldiers in Combat be held to the same Standards as a Civilian ?

    Guilty or not Guilty ?
  2. Only to the extent that equates to "battlefield non-survivable injuries".

    Higher. Civvies are presumed not to be under orders to massacre their equivalents. Therefore our massacring ought to be controlled. Normally, because we've run out of ammo but logistics can be backed up by a bit of weak "Geneva Convention" if we're pretending the supply chain is kosher.


    Err, I'd like to hear the evidence first?
  3. not guilty! ur honour ! to add does Geneva rules apply to terrorists!??
  4. Why waste ammo on him if he was dying? - Couldn't leave him in that state - then bayonet the fecker, open an artery or two.
  5. TheIronDuke

    TheIronDuke LE Book Reviewer

    Yes. Otherwise we are nut-jobs just like them. And we aint.

    Sorry for the interruption from the cheap seats, M'Lud. Now, as a Barrack Room Lawyer par excellence... giz five, Bud. Then you can drag in the innocent bastard to be proved not guilty.
  6. Prick! Still you'd have been welcome on the Ost Front.
  7. There has been precedence for this. An Argentinian soldier who was engulfed in leaked napalm was shot dead by a British soldier (I'm deliberately not naming the soldier as his name isn't relevant). There clearly is the possibility that would see the killing as a humanitarian exercise. Provided of course that the circumstances fit his testimony. If it would have been possible to call in hellivac and extract the casualty for treatment then there is room for doubt as to whether the killing was a mercy killing or just a bit of payback.
    Personally I'm surprised such a case should come to light and even more surprised that it should be brought to trial. Bad things happen in war and we should be more willing to accept the reasons given by the officer concerned unless there was evidence of a pattern of such occurrences with this officer involved. I'm not saying anyone has the right to Judge and Jury but there should be room for a good honest **** up or bad judgement well intended. They're not the enemy for nothing, it's about time we stopped trying to fight war by Queensbury Rules.
  8. If a nation has signed up to the GC then it applies no matter who they are fighting.
  9. it was a question that deserved more of an answer than being called prick!!

    it aint the naffi! is it you nonce!

    but thanks for the normal reply stacker!
  10. Funnily enough I was thinking about this self same moral question the other day and as Markintime says below about the falklands war...

    I recall that whilst no disciplinary action of any kind was brought against the medic who put the Argy out of his misery (and it is well documented how severly injured and in agony the guy was in) apparently his career was 'put on hold' for a long time afterwards.

    I guess people who werent there should not be in a position to pass any judgement whatsoever on somone who has to make a quick decision on whether to take a life to end suffering.

    If it were me in that boat, then yes I think I would kill a mortally injured enemy to take away his suffering.
  11. TheIronDuke

    TheIronDuke LE Book Reviewer

    Collaboration. What the **** is his defence doing issuing joint statements with the ******* enemy. Or even talking to the Satan worshipping child molesters? Semrau should have sacked the ***** right there.

    The prosecution will be able to define the term ‘severely wounded’ for the benefit of the Court, I have no doubt. Drawing upon expert witnesses.

    Can we ask that you stick your ‘statements’ and give us facts from qualified medics who can be called as witnesses? Otherwise, **** off with your half-arsed opinions. Thanks.

    I think we have established that your ‘statement’ is in fact, a stitch up? Yes? Now, let us move on to facts. If indeed you ***** understand the concept of ‘facts’.

    Jesus ******* Christ. An unnamed witness. Was that the same unnamed witness who saw space aliens plotting the murder of JFK in the Nevada desert in ’59? Or was that some other unnamed witness. **** off and get good, or just keep ******* off. Either one works for the defence.

    He was water-boarded and we got ‘unnamed witnesses’. Just like you have. But unlike you, we are not calling space aliens to the dock.

    The defence calls for forensics. Our client was not charged with the recovery of decomposing corpses. The last time our client saw the stiff, it was alive-ish. Or as alive as it is possible to be, having just had an encounter with an Apache.

    Yeah, well. Nobody is perfect. But documents lodged with the Court indicate that he sent flowers to his Mum and helped pensioners and that. Now, moving on…

    The defence has evidence that Steven Fournier was a well known drug fiend and we will fabricate evidence to prove this… sorry ‘M Lud… present this evidence after the adjournment. And while we’re on? What the **** is a mentoring team?

    Evidence of this convo? Other than the word of a proven drug addict and orphan raper and mentoror (SP?)?

    Warrant Officer Merlin Longaphie is a much decorated battlefield hero and devotes his leisure time to charitable works. Among his peers his nickname is ‘Honest Longaphie’ and small children love him.

    Would that be Mario Leveillee the convicted child molester? Is this Leveillee a mentoror too? Or is this some other Mario Leveillee? The defence feels the Court should know.

    These casings will be available for examination by defence experts? Then hand them over.

    The CV of your alleged ‘ballistics expert’? Any time you are ready.

    Heh. Sack Maj. Steven Turner at this point. He wasn’t there so he cannot give an opinion on ‘alive or dead’ for the Court, much less for his supposed defence. And being shot by an Apache tends to render the subject ‘dead’. Or at the very least, ‘twitching with attitude’.

    No. CivPop don’t have guns, tanks or great big flying telegraph poles. Soldiers in combat must apply higher standards than CivPop. But the evidence above, in my view, is a stitch.

    Not guilty. Now, the innocent bastard has been dealt with, so can we adjourn for lunch? I’m pegging.
  12. The choice is, do we believe the testimony of Cpl Fournier, or don't we.

    If Fournier's account is true, then the accused is guilty of one of the murder-related charges. If Fournier's account is untruthful, then I think that the other evidence (a couple of cases picked up at the scene of a firefight) is probably too weak.

    Hearing the testimony of Fournier and WO Longaphie would be useful in allowing us to form an opinion as to the veracity of each.
  13. TheIronDuke

    TheIronDuke LE Book Reviewer

    Hmm. The testimony of a decorated WO vs the testimony of the youngest member of Capt. Semrau’s mentoring team who, tragically, has a funny French name? Yeah. I can see how that would be useful. What the **** is a mentoring team and when did youngest members get to be part of one?

    It's a stitch, sadly.
  14. How big was the tree, that an Apache could hide in it?
  15. Further Description and Testimony from the Trial casts doubt on what actually happened and also discredits Cpl Fournier's account and his character.

    According to the government, Semrau subscribed to a so-called “soldier’s pact,” an unwritten code that says if one warrior is too maimed to be saved, it’s up to another to speed up the inevitable. Prosecutors also claim that two witnesses, including a fellow Canadian soldier, will testify that the captain fired his C-8 in the man’s direction, saying afterwards: “No one should suffer like that.” (The Geneva Conventions and the Canadian Forces Code of Conduct compel our troops to provide First Aid to all casualties, friend or foe.)

    But to convict Semrau of murder, the Crown must first prove—again, beyond any reasonable doubt—that someone was actually murdered. The body of the alleged “victim” has never been recovered, and there is no forensic proof that Semrau’s rifle ended his life. Even the man’s name is a mystery.

    Adding to the uncertainty is Warrant Officer Merlin Longaphie, the first Canadian soldier to stumble across the Taliban fighter. It was Oct. 19, 2008, and like Semrau, Longaphie was part of a four-man Operational Mentor Liaison Team (OMLT) attached to a company of Afghan National Army troops trolling for Taliban in Helmand Province. His unit was under heavy fire, and as U.S. Apache helicopters pounded the enemy position, Longaphie sprinted to safety through a large cornfield and flopped onto his stomach. To his right, about 25 meters away, was a man with a severed foot, a missing leg and a gaping hole in his back “the size of a dinner plate.”

    “I came to a quick conclusion, given that I didn’t see any movement and the ANA (Afghan National Army) didn’t seem to have any concerns,” Longaphie testified Wednesday. “My natural instinct was to say: ‘This is a dead guy.’ ”

    Turner suggested that the unnamed fighter was directing the enemy assault from a treetop, and was knocked from his perch by one of the Apache choppers. Longaphie said he did see what looked like blood in a nearby tree, but when asked whether intestines or other body parts were also visible, he wasn’t certain.

    “You’re not going to render assistance because this person is dead?” Turner asked.

    “Correct, sir,” Longaphie answered. “I didn’t feel there was a need to get a closer look.”

    If the Crown is correct, Semrau saw the same body later that morning—and it was still breathing. Pte. Steven Fournier, Semrau’s fire team partner that day, snapped photos of the wounded man, and is expected to testify in the coming days that he was indeed alive. But that Longaphie says otherwise presents an unexpected hiccup for the Crown. Capt. Thomas Fitzgerald, the lead prosecutor, was rattled enough to re-question Longaphie about his recollection of events.

    “I didn’t see any evidence to indicate that he wasn’t dead,” Longaphie insisted. “But I didn’t go and check.”

    Semrau’s lawyer spent the day trying to exploit other potential holes in the government’s case. He suggested that because the OMLT members were attached to an Afghan company—and not in charge of it—they had no authority to overrule a local commander’s decision (including a decision to not offer medical treatment to a dying man). Court has already heard that one ANA commander saw the injured insurgent, declared that his fate was “in Allah’s hands,” and ordered his troops to keep moving.

    Turner also went to great lengths to point out the obvious: war is hell.

    “You were out in Helmand to find, fix and destroy their enemy forces?” he asked Longaphie.

    “Yes sir,” the warrant answered.

    “They were able to fight you head to head as an organized group?”

    “Yes sir.”

    “And they were able to organize and execute complex ambushes?”

    “Yes sir.”

    At one point, Longaphie recalled how a flurry of bullets smacked into a mud wall right behind him, just inches from his face.

    “Would it be fair to say that throughout this operation there was complete chaos?” Turner asked.

    “Yes sir.”

    Turner also foreshadowed what is certain to be a dramatic courtroom showdown with one of the Crown’s star witnesses: Pte. Fournier. It was Fournier who snapped those photos of the Taliban casualty moments before the alleged execution, and who later told military investigators that Semrau committed a mercy kill. “Turn around,” the captain allegedly told him. “You do not or should not have to see this.” (The other eyewitness, an Afghan interpreter nicknamed “Max,” is expected to testify that he bolted back around just in time to see the second bullet pierce the unarmed man.)

    Answering Turner’s questions, Longaphie described Fournier as an unmotivated, out-of-shape “loner” who preferred video games over physical training. Longaphie said he tried more than once to have the private kicked off the tour, but Semrau seemed to have a soft spot for him. He even offered to craft a diet and exercise plan for Fournier, and act as a personal trainer of sorts. “Capt. Semrau thought we could salvage him and not get rid of him,” he testified.

    He was wrong. “He always seemed to have an excuse,” Longaphie said. “He had a hard time achieving even ten push-ups.” During a leave of absence weeks before deploying, Fournier gained even more weight, and once in Afghanistan he had trouble keeping up with his comrades. Once, while others scaled a mud wall, Fournier walked around alone, trying to find an easier way to the other side.

    “Fournier was a risk to himself and the rest of the group?” Turner asked.

    “Yes sir,” Longaphie answered.