Soldiers 'face charges' over RTR sergeant's death

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by Ozgerbobble, Jun 28, 2004.

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  1. Another tragedy unfolds.................................

    Soldiers 'face charges' over sergeant's death

    Press Association
    Monday June 28, 2004

    Four British servicemen could face charges of unlawful killing over the death of a British tank commander in Iraq, after a lengthy investigation determined he was the victim of "friendly fire", it was reported yesterday.
    Sergeant Steven Roberts was the first British soldier to die in action in Iraq. His death prompted controversy after it emerged he had been told to give up plates of body armour that could have saved his life, because there were not enough to go round.

    An unnamed "senior source within the MoD" told the Scotland on Sunday newspaper that inquiries by the Army Prosecuting Authority (APA) had established that the rounds which killed Sgt Roberts came from a British Challenger II tank.

    The crew of the tank, from the 2nd Royal Tank Regiment, will be told shortly whether they will face criminal charges over the incident, the source told the newspaper. If so, it is expected they will face trial before a military court martial.

    The Ministry of Defence said today that it was unable to confirm whether any charges were imminent or discuss the findings of the APA investigation.

    A spokesman said: "The case work is currently with the Army Prosecuting Authority and we can't pre-empt them ... We think that there will be an announcement in the next couple of weeks."

    The armed forces minister, Adam Ingram, told Scotland on Sunday: "As the findings are now subject to legal consideration, it would be inappropriate to comment further at this stage."

    Sgt Roberts's widow Samantha, who has fought a campaign to establish the truth about her husband's death, said she had not been informed that prosecutions were on the cards.

    She said it would be "unusual" for the MoD to allow such information to reach the public realm before informing her, as they had kept her well informed in recent months. Today the MoD insisted she would be kept informed.

    Mrs Roberts, from Shipley, West Yorkshire, declined to comment on any legal action until she had details of the case. But she said: "When all is said and done, he died because he didn't have his body armour, no matter who fired the shot."

    Sgt Roberts was shot in March 2003 when trying to quell a riot in Az Zubayr, near Basra, within days of the start of the conflict.

    An internal MoD report later established that he would have survived if he had been wearing ceramic plates inside his flak jacket. He had been issued with the plates, but gave them up to another soldier because his regiment did not have enough for everyone.

    Yesterday's reports suggest that it has now been established that the bullets that hit Sgt Roberts and an Iraqi man standing by him came from the 7.62mm guns fitted on Challengers.

    The unnamed MoD source was quoted as saying: "We are prepared for charges to be confirmed in the next fortnight. This has looked inevitable for quite a while, since it first became clear that he could not have been killed by any weapon normally seen on the streets in Iraq. It is inconceivable that the APA could have come up with any other recommendation."

    Liberal Democrat MP Paul Tyler, whose North Cornwall constituency includes Sgt Roberts's family home, said that any prosecution should not be allowed to divert attention from the more important issue of the failure to supply him with essential protective gear.

    Mr Tyler said: "When I took Mrs Samantha Roberts and other members of his family to meet Geoff Hoon, the secretary of state, as long ago as January 19, we made it clear that the crucial issue was the failure to ensure that Sgt Roberts was properly equipped with life-saving body armour.

    "Who fired the shots is far less important than the failures which made those shots fatal."

    He added: "I know that Sgt Roberts's family are determined that the absence of enhanced combat body armour, which we now know to have been the crucial factor, should not be swept under the ministry carpet.

    "For his army colleagues to be placed in this position while ministers evade responsibility is hardly likely to improve morale, or to reassure service families.

    "I shall be pressing Mr Hoon to fulfil his promise to meet us again once all the facts are known - and to accept once and for all his personal responsibility for the failures that led to Sgt Roberts's death."
     
  2. Hmmm... just another smoke and mirrors stunt to get the public to focus on the soldiers who fired the shot...rather than looking into the issues that his wife had publicly raised regarding body armour (or lack of it)

    Tut tut
     
  3. After all the spin coming from number 10, I was still suprised they could do this.

    Its shocking that they are trying to turn the blame onto 4 soldiers fighting a battle.
     
  4. ViroBono

    ViroBono LE Moderator

    Utterly disgusting, but highly predictable. Is what the government mean when they talk about people taking responsibility - the guys on the ground are responsible, the tw*ts at the top escape? Presumably if these guys are prosecuted we can at least look forward to Hoon's resignation.....

    Will they be pressing for the Septics who shot down the Tornado, and all the others involved in blue-on-blues, to now be prosecuted?
     
  5. faceless people making statements!! p1sses me off :( if your gonna squeal to journo's have the balls to use your name!
     
  6. and why squeal to Scotland on Sunday for f**ks sake! Was it whingin ingram himself? Pretty disgraceful to not bother informing the widow first
     
  7. I thought I'd seen it all
     
  8. Sorry didn't mean to quote the whole lot but the blonde highlights are playing havoic with this computer. Just 1 question which 7.92 gun are they on about :?: :? :? :? Glad they mentioned the calibre though :? :?
     
  9. Presume they're taking about the co-axial gun. Interestingly enough the Scotsman reported 26/06/04 that a Blackwatch Sgt was cleared on appeal of negligance after an incident in Iraq where one of his colleagues lost a leg after being hit by fire from the co-axial of a Warrior. The Sgt argued, and now has expert backing, that the chain gun can fire 'un demanded'
    Is the same type fitted to the Challenger ?
    Bit feckin scary if your gats can decide to fire themselves off,me thinks. 8O



    Ubique tu bastardo !!!
     
  10. Lets be fair, you'll be having a ****ing good day if body armour stop a 7.62! The focus should be on better battlefield systems.....
     
  11. :?: :?:
     
  12. Well if it was the Co-Axial no-one would stand a chance body armour or not with the amount of lead that can spit out in a minute. You may stand a slightly better chance by the Air Defence gun but not much.
     
  13. Doesn't surprise me that the wa'nkers from No 10 will think up this stunt to take the focus away from them. As stated earlier, will we bring forward prosecution on other "blue-on-blue" incidents? Will anybody at the top fall on their sword for lack of kit? Will anybody admit to having a ficking spine in MoD? :evil:
     
  14. Are they going to bring to justice, then the Spam that blew up put the armoured vehicles with his A10 :twisted: :? :twisted: :? :twisted:
     
  15. A SPINE .....hahahahhahahahahahahahahahahahahahah
    yeah , good one , the MOD is the land that spines forgot mate , no chance , plenty of f**king umbrellas going up all the time though. :evil: :evil: :evil: