R v Kevin Williams 07 April 2005 The Crown offered no evidence in the case of R v Kevin Williams at the Old Bailey sitting at the Royal Courts of Justice today. He was formally acquitted of the charge by the trial judge Mrs Justice Heather Hallett. Explaining the decision to the court, Richard Horwell, First Senior Treasury Counsel said: "As is well known, British troops are engaged in Iraq as part of the Multinational Division which operates in the South East of the country. In July 2003, a Battle Group from the 1st Battalion King's Regiment was deployed to Iraq. It included a squadron of approximately 14 tanks and 100 men, known as Badger Squadron, from the 2 nd Royal Tank Regiment. Trooper Williams was a soldier in Badger Squadron. "On 2 nd August 2003, Trooper Williams was on patrol with other soldiers near A d Dayr in South East Iraq. The patrol discovered six Iraqis moving a cart containing heavy machine gun ammunition. The patrol managed to detain three of the men, but one, Mr Said, ran off. Trooper Williams and another soldier, Corporal Blair, gave chase and followed him into the courtyard of a private dwelling. Despite attempts to restrain him, Mr Said refused to be handcuffed. During the attempts to restrain him, Trooper Williams shot Mr Said. Mr Said was unarmed and he died the following day in hospital. "In February 2005, you heard two applications: one to dismiss the charge and the other to stay the proceedings on the basis that a civilian prosecution in a criminal court, following the dismissal of military justice proceedings under the Army Act 1955, amounted to an abuse of process. "On the 23 rd February 2005, when giving your rulings, you made a number of observations which are pertinent to the events of today. "As to the decision by the Commanding Officer to dismiss the charge against Trooper Williams, you described the decision as one which had been made in good faith and which had not, in any sense, been part of an Army âcover-upâ. "In your ruling you said that there can be nothing wrong in principle with this prosecution as Parliament has seen fit to allow for concurrent jurisdiction in a case such as this. In addition you found that there can be no suggestion whatsoever that anyone connected with this case had succumbed improperly to political pressure or acted in anything other than good faith. As to the decision by the Crown Prosecution Service to prosecute Trooper Williams in this civilian court, you also described that as having been made in good faith. Indeed, throughout the argument, the defence had not sought to suggest otherwise. "Your ruling highlighted the fact that in this very difficult case, experienced and well intentioned lawyers not only could but had come to quite contrary decisions as to whether Trooper Williams should be prosecuted for the killing of Mr Said. "There is, of course, a duty upon the CPS constantly to review every decision to charge. The original decision by the CPS to prosecute Trooper Williams was taken after the most careful consideration but, having been taken, it has been subject to that process of review, particularly as new evidence has emerged. "During the dismissal application, the defence called evidence from very senior Army officers as to the unique dangers which British forces faced in Iraq in 2003. You described those dangers in this way: "The troops worked in dreadful physical conditions, never knowing when, in a moment, an apparently benign situation would turn into a lethal attack'. "Some, but not the full extent, of that evidence was prefaced in prosecution statements taken from other members of Trooper Williams' squadron. "Subsequent to the applications of February 2005, and noting your Ladyship's observations, the CPS again reviewed the case at the highest level and considered the importance of the factual disputes between Trooper Williams and Corporal Blair following, in particular, the evidence which had been called and other evidence which by then was available. The evidential test was further reviewed. In the light of the further evidence, and having revisited the original decision to prosecute, the Crown now takes the view that the factual disputes between Trooper Williams and Corporal Blair no longer have the same degree of importance once placed upon them. The appropriate test in law has always been Trooper Williams's actual perception of danger and he has consistently said that in a moment of crisis he believed that Corporal Blair's life, and that of his own, were at risk. "It is now accepted that there is no longer a realistic prospect of conviction. That is not, of course, the test which this Court had to apply during the recent application to dismiss the evidence. It is a higher test. It is a test which inevitably requires an element of subjectivity. But that test having been applied with that conclusion, Trooper Williams must have the benefit of it, hence the offering of no evidence this morning and the not guilty verdict which was returned." The Attorney General referred the case to the CPS for it to decide whether criminal charges should be brought and the CPS subsequently asked the Metropolitan Police for assistance in collecting further evidence before reviewing the case. Trooper Kevin Williams was charged with murder on 7 September 2004. A second case has been referred to the CPS by the Attorney General. This case is currently under review and is subject to an ongoing investigation by the Metropolitan Police. This case concerns the deaths of British soldier Sergeant Steven Roberts and Iraqi citizen Zahir Zabti Zaher on 24 th March 2003 at Al Zubayr, south of Basra. No further cases involving military personnel in Iraq have been referred to the CPS.