Two sol­diers charged after march tragedy

Solihull News - - LETTERS & EMAILS - JO­HANNA CARR soli­hull­news@ trin­i­tymir­ror. com

TWO spe­cial forces sol­diers have been charged with neg­li­gent per­for­mance of duty over the deaths of three re­servists dur­ing a 16- mile SAS test march.

Lance Cor­po­ral Ed­ward Ma­her and Lance Cor­po­ral Craig Roberts were pro­nounced dead on the Bre­con Bea­cons after suf­fer­ing heat­stroke in July 2013.

Cor­po­ral James Dunsby died at Birm­ing­ham’s Queen El­iz­a­beth Hos­pi­tal from mul­ti­ple or­gan fail­ure more than two weeks later. At an in­quest into their deaths in 2015 in Soli­hull, Coroner Louise Hunt said parts of the plan­ning and con­duct of the march were in­ad­e­quate or not fit for pur­pose.

She said in­ad­e­quate sup­plies of wa­ter also con- trib­uted to one of the deaths.

All three men died as a re­sult of a “fail­ure to prop­erly or­gan­ise and man­age” the march on July 13, 2013, she added.

A spokesman for the Ser­vice Pros­e­cut­ing Author­ity ( SPA) con­firmed the charges had been di­rected.

Two SAS sol­diers known only as 1A and 1B could face up to two years in prison and dis­missal if con­victed.

The SPA ini­tially de­cided not to charge any­one over the deaths but the charges were di­rected after lawyers act­ing for some of the be­reaved lodged a re­view.

Lawyers who rep­re­sented Cpl Dunsby’s fa­ther David at the in­quest, and pro­vided ev­i­dence at a sub­se­quent par­lia­men­tary in­quiry into mil­i­tary train­ing ex­er­cises, said the Min­istry of De­fence ( MoD) had re­fused to ac­cept cor­po­rate re­spon­si­bil­ity for deaths in train­ing, ex­er­cises and se­lec­tion events. Hi­lary Mered­ith, chair­woman at Hi­lary Mered­ith So­lic­i­tors and a vis­it­ing pro­fes­sor of law and vet­er­ans’ af­fairs at the Univer­sity of Ch­ester, said the MoD was “ig­nor- ing the will of a par­lia­men­tary in­quiry and fly­ing in the face of pub­lic opin­ion in the process”.

“In any other cor­po­rate en­vi­ron­ment the em­ployer, in this case the Min­istry of De­fence ( MoD), would take cor­po­rate re­spon­si­bil­ity and face a man­slaugh­ter charge,” she said. Her col­league, di­rec­tor of the firm Clare Stevens, said it should be the MoD in the dock and ac­cused it of “look­ing for scape­goats”.

From left: Lance Cor­po­ral Craig Roberts, Lance Cor­po­ral Ed­ward Ma­her and Cor­po­ral James Dunsby

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