"Kit delays led to soldiers death" - Coroners verdict

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by ViroBono, Dec 18, 2006.

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  1. The Coroner holding the inquest on Sgt Steve Roberts has recorded a narrative verdict, and does not mince his words:

    BBC News link
  2. Hardly a surprising verdict. Hopefully it will provide closure for Sgt. Roberts's family.

    Unfortunately, I can't see it having any impact on the powers that be. There will be a bland non-statement from the MOD (already prepared), which will be quoted on page 17 of tomorrow's papers. In 48 hrs. 90% of those people who read the story will have forgotten it; after all Christmas is much more important, isn't it?

    Bitter, me?
  3. The deliberate delays in equipping the troops just to pander to the anti war movement was an act of criminal negligence.

    Steves wife will only get some kind of closure when those responsible are held to account and prosecuted for their shameful and spineless conduct.
  4. There will be a (probably fairly brief) item about this on BBC Radio Five Live "Drive Time" programme about 4.30 pm this afternoon (Monday).
  5. in_the_cheapseats

    in_the_cheapseats LE Moderator

    Shock horror - lack of kit contributes to soldiers death.

    No surprise at all. Effect on procurement in future? The cynic in me says nil.

    We will, under current accounting systems, always be forced to minimise kit holdings to save us from paying a whack back to No 11 every year.

    It is what comes from trying to run the Services like a business. All that happens is all we see here - a soldier in harms way without a piece of equipment he should have had.

    On the wider stage, it means a RAF that is unable to operate unless it has big brother's help, a Navy that can blow most countries off the face of the Earth but unable to protect UK shores and is a toothless wonder for the next 15? yrs until CVF appears and an downsized Army that now classes as a Defence Force by international definition.

    When does our name change.....? :(

    Rant over
  6. As PB has said the verdict is hardly suprising, doubt there will be an apology to his widow though.

    It was quite plain at the start of Telic that there was insufficient kit to go round ammo, body armour, NBC suits, goggles, veh spares, dessie boots, clothing, to mention a few.

    An Mod spokesman said:
    "since Sgt Roberts' death, that from early 2004 it has policy that all personnel were issued with "their own personal set of Enhanced Combat Body Armour before their deployment to Iraq or Afghanistan".

    As opposed to " Those whom were responsible for this tragic incident that resulted from a lack of body armour are truly sorry, it's our fault"

    How early? Did all troops on Telic 2 deploy with it then?
  7. Stores are for storing, aren't they?
  8. "Sgt Roberts's death was as a result of delay and serious failures in the acquisition and support chain that resulted in a significant shortage within his fighting unit of enhanced combat body armour, none being available for him to wear."

    Does this not amount to Gross Negligence? Under other H & S legislation any employer would be deemed liable if he/she had not provided the correct safety equipment. It is the responsibility of the employer amongst other things to provide the kit, instruct in its use and to ensure that it is used. Thus the MoD is culpable, and directly so.

    Sgt Roberts had no opportunity to refuse orders on the basis of not having the appropriate kit. He was therefore operating under duress and clearly it was against his better judgement. Had he refused, he would have lost substantially in that (presumably, and at the very least) his career prospects would have been damaged.

    Not sure how this applies under Queen's Regs, but it should be investigated by a shrewd lawyer or two.

    It's simply not good enough for the Ministry to fail to carry out its job without any form of public liability or sanction. Sadly, this verdict does not bring the matter to conclusion, as there will inevitably be other cases where deaths or injuries arise from inadequate or faulty supply. Just as a minor example, what about faulty ammunition which reduces a soldier's capability to defend himself and/or his colleagues ?

    In the final analysis the debate is about who may be responsible for these casualties. More to the point, of course, is 'who' will actually stand up and accept responsibility?
  9. Exactly my thoughts. Could this lead to a criminal charge? Manslaughter?
  10. Intersting reading - cps charging standards for corporate manslaughter:

  11. It's true about Commissar Brown putting a capital charge on Military Stores - in fact he does the same to NHS Hospitals.

    The man is a semi-educated Scotsman who does not realise that this way of operating is fine for firms like Hanson or BTR which were financial conglomerates but had no intention of investing; but is a British fixation not shared by growing industrial powers like Germany or Japan or even USA.

    It is a silly game not to realise that Government is not a PLC and cannot be if it taxes its own shareholders. Companies are legal fictions which exist within the nation state, just like lawyers and accountants - no ship is more important than the ocean.

    Poor silly man has no idea that Accounting is a joke and Bullets are real. We had that shambles in Oman which showed us our deficiencies and Hoon-Blair just polished everything and closed their eyes to match closed minds.

    I was surprised that those FN Browning pistols jam - why don't they get 92F Berettas instead ? Don't tank crews have rifles ? and surely tank crews are aware of their equipment and its limitations ?

    I still think Blair should have stiffed Bush for $50 billion to buy new kit.........but failing that with 6 months to prepare for the Iraq job, Blair was criminally negligent. At least when Chamberlain went to Munich he had AA guns in London and had already begun to fund Merlin engines and Fighter Command 3 years earlier.
  12. its just said the body armour costs just £167 per set FFS when are this government going to give the troops on the ground the proper kit instead of pouring all our fcuking money in illegal immagrants and other low life fcuking scum who can't be bothered getting of there arrse to work!
  13. As I read what the Coroner's said this afternoon I remembered a comment by POD that surprised me at the time (early 2003), and now seems particularly inappropriate. It was repeated in an article in the Independent last week, link here. The relevant bit is this:

    No General, but missing your ECBA might well be.

    What, I wonder, did the Chiefs of Staff and ECAB really make of it all at the time?

  14. Exactly. If this had happened in a private company, outraged Labour MPs would be demanding the directors' heads on a plate. Even if the CPS did decide to prosecute, Lord Goldsmith would simply announce that prosecution is not in the public interest and halt the case.

    There is a growing attitude among politicians that they are above the law. Abuse of the Attorney General's powers sets a very dangerous precedent that risks turning Britain into a banana republic.