Monday, 11 November 2013

Perverse murder conviction

Marine 'A' has been convicted of murdering an Afghan insurgent at Court Martial. He will serve a notional life term in prison, but subject to release on license after a minimum number of years yet to be determined by the court.

Marines 'B' and 'C' were acquitted. They were present at the incident but did not fire the 'fatal' shot. Marines 'D' and 'E' were also present but were not charged. All  have been granted anonymity - as you can tell by the extensive use of letters of the alphabet.

It's a strange and rum conviction though. There is no body. It was not retrieved by British forces. The identity of the victim is not known. In fact we cannot even be sure that the 'victim' is dead. He may be walking around Afghanistan telling his pals, "They left me for dead but I crawled away and recovered."

And if he is dead it is by no means certain that the single 9mm shot to the torso fired by Marine 'A' actually killed him. He had been shot up by an Apache helicopter a few minutes previously so it must be a strong probability that his death resulted from the 600-rounds-per-minute chain gun on the chopper rather than the Marine's single shot.

There is the possibility of appeal to a court with civilian judges and ultimately to the UK Supreme Court. Unfortunately there is no option for Marine 'A' to go before a civilian jury, which is where his best chance of actual justice would lie.

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