Friday, 6 December 2013
Appalling Judicial Decision
Many of you may have been following the trial and subsequent media articles concerning the five Royal Marines who were accused of murdering a badly wounded insurgent in Afghanistan during September 2011.
Two marines were acquitted and another two had all charges dropped, but ‘Marine A’ was found guilty of murder and will be sentenced today and quite probably given a life sentence which, I believe, will be undertaken in a civilian prison.
He is the first British soldier to be convicted of murder on active service abroad since the Second World War. In no way do I condone Marine A’s actions but I think he has been badly let down by one/some of his colleagues. From the little detail available on the internet, it appears marines were told not to use helmet cameras in certain situations and this was one of them. However, it’s the actions of civilian judges which prompted this post.
Yesterday, the UK’s highest judge, sitting with two of his colleagues, ruled that it would ‘undermine open justice to conceal the identity of a convicted murderer’ and stripped Marine A of the anonymity granted to him during his court martial. The Guardian has been very vocal in calling for his identity to be made public - the same newspaper that was happy to expose state secrets which could have repercussions throughout our society.
I have no intention of naming Marine A, because I consider Chief Justice Lord Thomas’s decision appalling. Given the particular circumstances of this case I can’t imagine there were any sensible legal constraints on the judges to force them to come to this ruling.
There is no public benefit to naming any of the involved parties in this sad affair. This is nothing more than political grandstanding which will involve the family and friends of Marine A being targets for fanatics in years to come. Not only has his family oat a husband, son, uncle but they too have now lost their freedom.
I firmly believe this case should have been kept within the military justice system and withheld from public scrutiny. What good has exposing it to the public done other than feed those liberals who are clueless about military matters? Our enemies must be laughing at how well this country supports its military and dependants.