MoD refuses to hand over video to Coroner

#1
Coroner slams MoD over Iraq tape

L/Cpl Matty Hull was in a convoy of light armoured vehicles near Basra
A coroner has launched a furious attack on the MoD for refusing to release a video tape of the moment a US aircraft opened fire on British troops in Iraq.
Coroner Andrew Walker is hearing the inquest on Lance Corporal Matty Hull, 25, from Berkshire, who died in the attack in March 2003.

A cockpit video of the incident exists but the MoD said it did not have the authority for it to be played in court.

Mr Walker has demanded the MoD make the tape available by Friday morning.

Tankbuster attack

Mr Walker, Oxfordshire Assistant Deputy Coroner, said the video was central to the case and he could not understand why it had not been forthcoming.

L/Cpl Hull's widow, Susan, described it as an "absolute disgrace" that the evidence had come to light this week when she had been assured by the military that no such tape existed.

L/Cpl Hull, from the Household Cavalry Regiment, died from multiple injuries inside his blazing Scimitar tank, despite efforts by colleagues to save him.

He was travelling in a column of light armoured vehicles near the southern Iraqi city of Basra when it was reportedly attacked by a US A-10 "tankbuster" aircraft.

Corporal Ashley Bell, who was also in the convoy, had earlier told the inquest in Oxford that he got on the radio and appealed for the firing to stop but the planes kept attacking.

The case continues.
 
#3
Given that it is a cockpit video and a US aircraft, it's probably a US tape.

If the US have released it to the MOD, they may well have imposed conditions on it's use and/or dissemination. Pure supposition, but not unreasonable.

Sounds like the coroner thinks he is God's gift though.
 
#4
The Coroner is trying to do his job and that is to find the truth. The video belongs to the US military and has been known about by the MoD since 2004. The widow of L/Cpl Hull only found out about it this week.
 
#5
PassingBells said:
Sounds like the coroner thinks he is God's gift though.
What? You think it's unreasonable that a judge, tasked with officially determining the chain of events and the cause of death of a British soldier, demands that all available and pertinent evidence in the posession of HMG be brought before him?
 
#6
crabtastic said:
PassingBells said:
Sounds like the coroner thinks he is God's gift though.
What? You think it's unreasonable that a judge, tasked with officially determining the chain of events and the cause of death of a British soldier, demands that all available and pertinent evidence in the posession of HMG be brought before him?
beat me to it...friendly fire is not acceptable and should not be excused or covered up :pissedoff:
 
#7
No, it should not be covered up.

No excuses made... But there is reason for FF. War is getting faster and since the invention of 'modern' Blitzkrieg tactics such incidents are on the rise.

The tape should be made available if only to clarify under which conditions the soldier died.
 
#8
Coroner is demanding that the video is shown tomorrow at 1030. However the MoD needs to go through hoops to get permission from the US authorities. You would like to think that the MoD would already have done this work? The MoD have refused to pay for legal teams for the familes of the Herc crash but are happy to pay millions in taxpayers money for their own legal advice.

PB Go figure.....
 
#9
whit_RE said:
crabtastic said:
PassingBells said:
Sounds like the coroner thinks he is God's gift though.
What? You think it's unreasonable that a judge, tasked with officially determining the chain of events and the cause of death of a British soldier, demands that all available and pertinent evidence in the posession of HMG be brought before him?
beat me to it...friendly fire is not acceptable and should not be excused or covered up :pissedoff:
So the instances of blue on blue should be criminalised? I am not condoning it but wherever there is conflict there will be instances of blue on blue. Even within the army
 
#10
Sven said:
whit_RE said:
crabtastic said:
PassingBells said:
Sounds like the coroner thinks he is God's gift though.
What? You think it's unreasonable that a judge, tasked with officially determining the chain of events and the cause of death of a British soldier, demands that all available and pertinent evidence in the posession of HMG be brought before him?
beat me to it...friendly fire is not acceptable and should not be excused or covered up :pissedoff:
So the instances of blue on blue should be criminalised? I am not condoning it but wherever there is conflict there will be instances of blue on blue. Even within the army
I agree there will always be times when it happens, but surely full investigations and SOP reviews will reduce the chances of it happening? Covering it up (or appearing to) just makes it look like there is something to hide, not just the result of the heat of battle.
 
#11
Gents, the guys on the ground on that fateful day state that the pilot was flying that low they could see his face. Now call me old fashioned but I sense a cover up of the disgraceful events that occurred that day, in which British Armd ( CVRT) vehicles with the necessary ID pannels were mistakenly identified as an "Iraqi flatbed truck" never mind the 2 x Iraqi's who were surrendering. I hope that the truth prevails and no stone left unturned for an event that occurred nearly 4 Yrs ago.
 
#12
Sven said:
So the instances of blue on blue should be criminalised? I am not condoning it but wherever there is conflict there will be instances of blue on blue. Even within the army
How would you expect a Coroner to decide whether a death in a blue-on-blue incident is unlawful or not unless and until all the evidence is made available? Or a subsequent police investigation be completed without all the evidence?

Failing to make evidence available to the Coroner will inevitably lead to accusations of cover-up and whitewash.
 
#13
whit_RE said:
Sven said:
whit_RE said:
crabtastic said:
PassingBells said:
Sounds like the coroner thinks he is God's gift though.
What? You think it's unreasonable that a judge, tasked with officially determining the chain of events and the cause of death of a British soldier, demands that all available and pertinent evidence in the posession of HMG be brought before him?
beat me to it...friendly fire is not acceptable and should not be excused or covered up :pissedoff:
So the instances of blue on blue should be criminalised? I am not condoning it but wherever there is conflict there will be instances of blue on blue. Even within the army
I agree there will always be times when it happens, but surely full investigations and SOP reviews will reduce the chances of it happening? Covering it up (or appearing to) just makes it look like there is something to hide, not just the result of the heat of battle.
I am not condoning the covering up of blue on blue incidents, but to think, or teach, that they are totally avoidable in warfare is rediculous. As is holding an inquest for them.

Remember that a similar inquest found the killing of an ITV reporter illegal
 
#14
nigegilb said:
Coroner is demanding that the video is shown tomorrow at 1030. However the MoD needs to go through hoops to get permission from the US authorities. You would like to think that the MoD would already have done this work? The MoD have refused to pay for legal teams for the familes of the Herc crash but are happy to pay millions in taxpayers money for their own legal advice.

PB Go figure.....
I agree Nigegilb. My point was that given the MOD will have explained why they cannot (yet) release the video to him, his outburst, as reported, is not very judicious. It wouldn't surprise me if the holdup is on the US end, they have an inefficient bureaucracy too.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/6321871.stm

He absolutely has a duty to determine the facts leading up to the death of LCoH Hull, but there are other factors as well. The US military is not subject to UK law and the MOD cannot release information, subject to restrictions, without compromising the US/UK working relationship. There is a bigger picture that he does not seem to be acknowledging.


Edited following Blues_Cav's correction
 
#15
It beggars belief. When will the MoD ever, ever learn? There has to be someone with the brains and moral courage to realise that events like this do not do them any favours. It stinks of whitewash and cover up already.

Wake up Whitehall ffs!
 
#16
Sven said:
I am not condoning the covering up of blue on blue incidents, but to think, or teach, that they are totally avoidable in warfare is rediculous. As is holding an inquest for them.
So you are not condoning the covering-up of blue on blue incidents, but you are condoning the covering up of evidence connected to same - which sounds like much the same thing to me. No-one has suggested that blue on blue incidents are unavoidable. In any case, the Coroner is not considering whether or not such incidents are avoidable; his task is to inquire into the circumstances of death. An inquest is a legal requirement in every case of sudden or violent death. Your assertion that inquests into the deaths of Service personnel killed in blue-on-blue incidents should not be held is both risible and illogical, and a insult to the relatives and friends of the deceased, who have a right to know what happened.

The behaviour of the government in these inquests, from TCH's refusal to appear to the disgraceful delays in holding inquests has been appalling.

Remember that a similar inquest found the killing of an ITV reporter illegal
I do not recall there being any suggestion that MOD was witholding evidence in this case, so what does it have to do with the subject at hand?
 
#17
The Coroner can allows agree to view the tape in closed session which may appease the US Govt.

According to BBC Radio 5 Live last night the tape's pictures are not the best quality but a pilot is heard to say 'Some one is going to go to jail for this'.
 
#18
I have a lot more faith in independent coroners findings than anything presented by the MoD or the Attorney General. I do not believe the coroner in this case would have been shaking with rage at the MoD for no reason.

This is the same coroner who castigated the MoD and Hoon over the entirely avoidable death of Sgt Roberts. It is reassuring to think that some institution's still operate without political interference in this country.
 
#19
TheBigUn said:
It beggars belief. When will the MoD ever, ever learn? There has to be someone with the brains and moral courage to realise that events like this do not do them any favours. It stinks of whitewash and cover up already.

Wake up Whitehall ffs!
In the long term, what will it acheive to air the video in court. Is it the only proof that these two pilots were the ones who fired on the convoy? Is it the only evidence that will make it incontravertable?

By the way, Whitehall is not saying that the Coroner cannot have the video, only that it will take a week to find it
 
#20
Sven said:
TheBigUn said:
It beggars belief. When will the MoD ever, ever learn? There has to be someone with the brains and moral courage to realise that events like this do not do them any favours. It stinks of whitewash and cover up already.

Wake up Whitehall ffs!
In the long time, what will it acheive to air the video in court. Is it the only proof that these two pilots were the ones who fired on the convoy? Is it the only evidence that will make it incontravertable?

By the way, Whitehall is not saying that the Coroner cannot have the video, only that it will take a week to find it
I've been longing to ask this.
Do you have a source Sven?
 

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