Court martial told of Marine's 'integrity'
One of three Royal Marines accused of "executing" an injured Afghan insurgent never even told one of his close friends about the killing, a court heard yesterday.
The men, known only as Marines A, B and C, are charged with murdering an unknown captured Afghan national on or about September 15, 2011.
Marine A is accused of shooting the man in the chest at close range with a 9mm pistol, while Marines B and C are said to have been "party to the killing" and "encouraged and assisted" their co-accused.
Yesterday the court heard from one of Marine C's close friends, also a Royal Marine, who said the incident had not been discussed between them.
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The court martial in Bulford, Wiltshire, heard from the Marine that their base had come under attack and after an Apache helicopter was sent to return fire, he had been informed an Afghan national had been killed in action.
He told the court martial that he had never discussed the case with Marine C.
David Perry QC, prosecuting, asked the Marine: "Did Marine C ever say to you 'I was amazed that Marine A just took out his gun and shot him, discharging this weapon?"'
He replied "no" and added that he had never received an account of what had happened.
"Obviously I was aware once the investigation started of what had taken place and at that point I was being interviewed and questioned and I knew he was being interviewed and questioned," he told the seven-strong board.
"That's when we decided, but it was never, ever said, that we shouldn't talk about and discuss it and let it be and carried on."
Mr Perry asked: "Despite your deep friendship you have never had from him any explanation or account of the events of September 15? Is that your evidence?"
The Marine replied: "Yes. We tried to put behind us what happened on the tour for understandable reasons."
Marcus Tregilgas-Davey, representing Marine C, asked the Marine if he knew his friend well: "It would be accurate to say you know him completely accurately and comprehensively?
"A first class man?"
The Marine replied: "Yes."
"Have you ever had cause to question or doubt his integrity?" Mr Tregilgas-Davey asked.
"No," was the response.
He also agreed with the barrister that Marine C was a "bit of a joker" and the sort of person who would engage in "squaddie humour", which could sometimes be a "bit close to the bone".
Mr Tregilgas-Davey asked: "Have you ever witnessed Marine C say or do anything that suggests he would want to hurt or harm a detainee."
"No," he replied.
Mr Tregilgas-Davey asked: "Did you witness Marine C say or do anything that led you to believe that he would be involved in the shooting of a detainee?"
"Never," was the reply.
Prosecutors say that Royal Marine A executed the insurgent – telling him: "There you are.
"Shuffle off this mortal coil...
"It's nothing you wouldn't do to us."
He is then accused of turning to comrades and said "Obviously this doesn't go anywhere fellas.
"I just broke the Geneva Convention."