TA soldier cleared of Manslaughter

X-Inf

War Hero
Book Reviewer
#1
http://news.scotsman.com/latest.cfm?id=3711715

Ta Soldier Cleared of Manslaughter

By Alistair Keely, PA News


A territorial army soldier was today acquitted by a court martial of the manslaughter of a fellow reservist at a military camp in Iraq.

Lance-Corporal Ian Blaymire, 28, was accused of shooting friend and colleague Sergeant John Nightingale at Shaibah military camp in Iraq on September 23 last year.

A panel of five military members sitting at Catterick Garrison near Richmond, North Yorkshire, took just over two hours to clear Blaymire of manslaughter but found him guilty of breaching military discipline in failing to follow the correct safety procedures for weapon handling.
 
#4
two interesting aspects of this tragic case:

1. The circumstances were more complicated than some of us assumed in earlier discussion.... the deceased cocking the weapon himself, etc and the weapon being someone else's. Incidentally the press stories dont say so but the weapon must have had a loaded mag applied - not a round in the breech to start with (obviously).

2. The Judge-Advocate was very outspoken in his criticism of the Army authorities. This from the Scotsman:
The judge was also highly critical of the Army’s top brass when the panel was not present. He said the prosecution had tried to help the defence team unearth important documents relating to training during the course of the trial but there had been a “cover up and lies” by the higher authorities. He also said “people senior to Blaymire have shown a startling degree of neglect“.
It seems to me that some of the blame must lie with the political decision not to commence mobilisation until after the 'last safe moment' had passed, leaving insufficient time for training and testing at Chilwell. Mobilisation is a busy process, but sufficient time is normally built in to allow for everyone to be properly tested and if necessary given hasty refresher training to reach the necessary standard of weapon handling and marksmanship.

full Scotsman story at http://news.scotsman.com/latest.cfm?id=3712586
 
#5
I don't understand how this soldier can be cleared on manslaughter, yet still found guilty of " breaching military discipline in failing to follow the correct safety procedures for weapon handling" if he wasn't trained???

And what was the Sgt doing reaching for and grasping a cocking handle? What was really going on?

a manslaughter took place - so now, who is guilty?? The CO, GOC, The Minister? You can bet your last peeny that this is the end of it. Can't imagine the CPS or Lawyers for Public Interest chasing this one down

But there again, a full Col (OBE no less) is not a Tpr in the RTR or an Iraqi with large publically funded pockets.

This government is so hypocritical - they were the ones that introduced the penalties for corporte manslaughter , so why are they not enforcing their own law????

Mr Attorney General ...... we're waiting :twisted:
 
#6
Hootch said:
I don't understand how this soldier can be cleared on manslaughter, yet still found guilty of " breaching military discipline in failing to follow the correct safety procedures for weapon handling" if he wasn't trained???
I feel very sorry for both families, I've read the BBC article and I'm not sure what actually happened. Did Sgt Nightingale try to correct the LCpls drills, we don't know?
I'm sure LCpl Blaymire didn't intend to do anything wrong, why he has been discharged ????? Probably to pin the blame on him and not someone else.
 

Cutaway

LE
Kit Reviewer
#7
As ever Hackle, your post is informative and thought provoking. Not least this part:

hackle said:
......

It seems to me that some of the blame must lie with the political decision not to commence mobilisation until after the 'last safe moment' had passed, leaving insufficient time for training and testing at Chilwell.

......

full Scotsman story at http://news.scotsman.com/latest.cfm?id=3712586
But I can see Bliar and TCH and any other politicos avoiding any blame like teflon coated eels.
'I have a position of responsiblity' appears to mean 'I get lots of dosh' in Bliarspeak.
Whatever happened to honour ? Ok, maybe amongst these thieves......
 
#10
A terrible, terrible situation for all those involved. Made all the worse know that a question mark has been raised over one soldier's basic training.
 
#11
WhiteHorse said:
Are we surprised :evil:
No :(

No WMD
No Al Queada (The Power of Nightmares: the Politics of Fear - last night)
Bush re-elected
Bliar/Hoon getting away with corporate manslaughter

Disillusioned - Yes
 
#12
http://news.telegraph.co.uk/news/ma...rmy04.xml&secureRefresh=true&_requestid=72037

Assistant Judge Advocate General Paul Camp told him: "Your training was deficient, you shouldn't have been deployed without further training. The system in Iraq was very slack in weapons handling terms. You have been let down by the Army."

He said Sgt Nightingale, the unit commander, "was not sensible" and "considerable moral responsibility" had to be borne by Lt Col John Bevan, commanding officer of 27 Regt Royal Logistical Corps, the regular Army unit to which they were attached.

The judge had earlier said the Crown had tried to help get to the truth of the case "despite the intentions of the Army to cover up and lie."

Blaymire, a member of 150 (Yorkshire) Transport Regiment, Royal Logistics Corps (Volunteers), failed two parts of his weapons training test at a training centre at Chilwell, Notts, five months before the shooting at Shaibah Camp, near Basra.

The court martial, which lasted seven weeks, was told that Sgt Nightingale had been "larking around" with an SA80 assault rifle, seconds before he was shot. The weapon belonged to L/Cpl Gareth Sherratt, for whom Blaymire had agreed to take it to the armoury. Sherratt was cleared of conduct to the prejudice of good order and military discipline earlier this week.

Sgt Nightingale was claimed to have flicked the cocking lever on the rifle, slung over Blaymire's shoulder, after walking into the unit office.

Seconds later Blaymire, who said he was unaware it was loaded, pulled the trigger and Sgt Nightingale was hit at close range by a single shot to the chest.

Col Cecilia Misskenny, prosecuting, said: "L/Cpl Blaymire is not being judged as an expert marksman, just a reasonably competent soldier. What he did was disregard the most basic procedures and rules, which were little more than common sense."

The court martial was told that training for soldiers who were to be deployed to Iraq was delayed because of the attempts to negotiate a peaceful settlement.

Training at Chilwell, the Reserves Training and Mobilisation Centre, was so poor, it was claimed, that even some of the weapons instructors were not qualified.

It was further alleged that senior officers knew that soldiers had not reached the required standard even to go on a firing range.

Simon Reevell, defending, said it was only in the past fortnight that Chilwell had resorted to carrying out the proper tests and soldiers now were being deployed with the proper qualifications.

Blaymire, a single man with no children, said outside the court: "Firstly may I express my condolences to the family and friends of Sgt Nightingale. I'm very sorry I haven't been able to say so in person before.

"John Nightingale was a good friend and colleague and a professional senior NCO who will be deeply missed."
 

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