Jailed Royal Marine A Sergeant Alexander Blackman wins right to a fresh appeal

Jailed Royal Marine A Sergeant Alexander Blackman wins right to a fresh appeal


Jailed Royal Marine A Sergeant Alexander Blackman wins right to a fresh appeal

  • Official review has cast doubt on his conviction for killing Taliban insurgent
  • It is a big  victory for Daily Mail readers who backed his campaign for justice
  • Kick in the teeth to the Establishment who condemned him to rot in prison. 
  • He was convicted of shooting a insurgent who was already fatally wounded

Sam Greenhill

and
Richard Pendlebury for the Daily Mail

Jailed Royal Marine Sergeant Alexander Blackman has won the right to a fresh appeal

Jailed Royal Marine Sergeant Alexander Blackman has won the right to a fresh appeal

Jailed Royal Marine Sergeant Alexander Blackman has today won the right to a fresh appeal.

An official review has cast doubt on his conviction for killing a Taliban insurgent and concluded it could be overturned as a miscarriage of justice.

It is a major victory for Daily Mail readers who backed his campaign for justice and donated an incredible £800,000 to his legal fund.

And it is a kick in the teeth to the Establishment who condemned the veteran commando – who served his country on six tours of duty including Iraq and Afghanistan – to rot in prison.

Sergeant Blackman, 42, was convicted three years ago of shooting a Taliban insurgent who was already fatally wounded attacking a British base in Helmand Province. 

He admits making a split-second mistake on a ‘tour from hell’ that saw comrades tortured and their body parts hung from trees. 

Known as ‘Marine A’ at his court martial, he is the only known British serviceman ever to have been convicted of murder on a foreign battlefield. 

Protest: Sergeant Blackman's wife Claire poses for a photo in London with the Royal Marine's mother Frances and her parents along with the many servicemen who turned up in October

Protest: Sergeant Blackman’s wife Claire poses for a photo in London with the Royal Marine’s mother Frances and her parents along with the many servicemen who turned up in October

His supporters say he was locked up as a ‘political scapegoat’ for failings by top brass.

Now, after an extraordinary campaign funded by Mail readers, the Criminal Cases Review Commission – the independent body which examines possible miscarriages of justice – has formally referred his case back to the Court of Appeal. 

The case will be heard later next year, and the Appeal Court has the power to quash his murder conviction, commute it to manslaughter, or order a retrial.

The sergeant, who was a highly experienced Marine destined for promotion, has been behind bars for more than three years.

But now the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) has accepted dramatic new evidence suggesting he was suffering from ‘diminished responsibility’ when he pulled the trigger.

Former Royal Marine Commandos show their support for a judicial review into the conviction of Sergeant Blackman by walking from  Parliament Square to Downing Street in October 2015

Former Royal Marine Commandos show their support for a judicial review into the conviction of Sergeant Blackman by walking from Parliament Square to Downing Street in October 2015

In a damning report, the CCRC said the court martial should have considered manslaughter – which carries a much lower tariff than murder.

A spokesman said: ‘Following an in-depth eleven-month long investigation, the Commission has decided to refer the case to the Courst Martial Appeal Court.

‘The referral is made on the basis of a number of issues including:

  • ‘New evidence, including new expert evidence acquired by the Commission, relating to Mr Blackman’s mental state at the time of the offence.
  • ‘The fact that an alternative verdict of unlawful act manslaughter was not available to the board when it considered the case.

‘The Commission has concluded that these issues raise a real possibility that the Courts Martial Appeal Court will now quash Mr Blackman’s murder conviction.’

Backing: His supporters say he was locked up as a 'political scapegoat' for failings by top brass

Backing: His supporters say he was locked up as a ‘political scapegoat’ for failings by top brass

David James Smith, lead CCRC Commissioner on the case, said: ‘We have scrutinised this murder conviction in minute detail and after a thorough investigation we have concluded that there are new issues – principally relating to Mr Blackman’s state of mind at the time of the shooting – which in our view raise a real possibility that an appeal against conviction would now succeed.

‘On that basis we are sending the case back to the Courts Martial Appeal Court so that a fresh appeal can be heard.’ 

Published at Tue, 06 Dec 2016 22:23:24 +0000