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Ruling on naming murder trial marines due tomorrow

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: December 04, 2013

Leading judges are to announce their decision tomorrow on whether the names of five Royal Marines should be made public following a high-profile trial over the killing of an injured insurgent in Afghanistan.

The ruling will be made by Lord Chief Justice Lord Thomas, sitting with Mr Justice Tugendhat and Mr Justice Holroyde at the Court Martial Appeal Court in London.

It follows a hearing last week during which argument was made on behalf of the servicemen that their lives will be at “real and immediate” risk if their names are released.

The three judges will only announce a decision at 10.25 am – their full reasons will be given at a later date.

Lawyers for the five have challenged an order which lifted anonymity following the conviction of one of them at a court martial.

During the trial of three of the servicemen at a court martial in Bulford, Wiltshire, an order prevented the names being made public.

On November 8 a court martial board found a commando, known only as Marine A, guilty of murdering the man in Helmand more than two years ago.

Two others, known only as Marines B and C, were acquitted. Charges against a further two Marines, referred to as D and E, were previously discontinued.

The challenge before the three judges relates to a ruling by Judge Advocate General Jeff Blackett that the names of the defendants and those of Marines D and E, should be identified publicly.

Lawyers for Marine D and Marine E said in their cases no one had anticipated that the prosecution would seek to persuade the judge to lift their anonymity and they did not receive a fair hearing on the issue.

All five still cannot be named pending the decision of the Court Martial Appeal Court.

The sentencing hearing in relation to Marine A is due to take place on December 6.

The three Royal Marines on trial denied murdering the unknown captured Afghan national on or about September 15 2011, contrary to section 42 of the Armed Forces Act 2006.

But a seven-strong court martial board, consisting of officers and non-commissioned officers, convicted one of the defendants following a two-week trial.

Marine A shot the man in the chest at close range with a 9mm pistol then quoted a phrase from Shakespeare as the man convulsed and died in front of him.

The shooting was filmed by a camera mounted on the helmet of Marine B.

Marines B and C were alleged to have been "party to the killing” and ”encouraged and assisted” Marine A in committing the murder, but they were cleared.

 
 

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