Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 20 September 2014

Marines' Afghanistan case adjourned

Five Royal Marines have been charged with murder in relation to an incident in Afghanistan in 2011

Five Royal Marines charged with the murder of a captured Afghan national have appeared in court.

The commandos were charged with murder following an incident believed to have happened in September last year in Afghanistan.

The men, who for legal reasons can only be referred to as Marines A, B, C, D and E, attended for a plea and case management hearing at the Military Court Centre in Bulford, Wiltshire, but the case was adjourned to March 8.

The five Marines sat behind a white screen in the packed courtroom as they listened to legal argument from the prosecution and defence.

Prosecutor David Perry told Judge Advocate General Jeff Blackett that there was "good reason" for the case to be adjourned.

Mr Perry said: "What we would seek is a date for an effective plea and case management hearing. They (defence counsel) have not had the benefit of considering all the material. I wonder if your honour will accept from me that there is good reason they should not be arraigned. We are all confident if that date is fixed for the plea and case management hearing on March 8 it would be properly effective."

The judge told the court he would therefore list the case for a hearing on that date. The court also heard that the trial would be set for a date not before September 1 next year.

After the first hearing in October, which was held behind closed doors, a judge granted the Marines anonymity due to a "real and immediate risk" to the men's lives.

Since then further orders have been granted extending the anonymity order, which will be reviewed at the conclusion of court martial proceedings.

Judge Blackett released the Marines on conditional bail.

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