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Royal Marines appear in court behind closed doors

By Plymouth Herald  |  Posted: October 22, 2012

FIVE Royal Marines charged with murder have been released from custody.

The commandos appeared at Colchester Military Court Centre with their legal representatives – but once again behind closed doors.

After releasing the men, Judge Advocate General Jeff Blackett said he had sent them back to their barracks, where they would remain subject to certain conditions.

The judge ruled an interim anonymity order and reporting restrictions preventing the naming of the five were to be extended until November 5.

The media will be able to enter submissions at a special hearing at Bulford Military Court, in Wiltshire, on that date.

Known only as Marines A, B, C, D and E, the men were in the court room for over an hour.

After the hearing, shortly before 3pm, they were ushered out of a back door at the court buildings and into a vehicle with blacked-out windows.

Speaking after he had released the men, the Judge Advocate General said: “Last Monday five Royal Marines appeared before a Judge in chambers, where it was ordered they would remain in custody.

“I have released all of these Marines back to their own bases subject to conditions including at the address in which they will stay.”

The press were not allowed into the court while the Marines were in the dock.

Neither were they allowed to hear submissions from counsel regarding the anonymity order.

A number of military representatives were also sat in the court, which was held this afternoon.

Following the next hearing, on November 5, the five are expected to enter their pleas.

A plea and case management hearing has been set for December 10, also at Bulford Military Court Centre.

The allegations came after footage was found on a serviceman’s laptop when he was arrested on a civilian matter, the Ministry of Defence has said.

Seven commandos were initially arrested on Thursday, October 11, followed by a further two marines; four of whom were later released without charge.

Five of the men were charged with the offence on October 13.

The joint charge is being brought by the Service Prosecuting Authority, which takes on a similar role to the Crown Prosecution Service.

It is alleged the men committed a murder of an unknown Afghan national contrary to Section 42 of the Armed Forces Act (2006).

The Marines are accused of murdering the individual on September 15 last year, while city-based 3 Commando Brigade were on operational tour in the country.

All five were represented in court.

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