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Royal Marine convicted of murdering Afghan fighter must wait for bail decision

A Royal Marine serving life after being found guilty of murdering an injured Afghan fighter faces a wait until next week to see if he will be freed pending a new challenge against his conviction.

Lawyers for Sergeant Alexander Blackman, 42, of Taunton in Somerset, urged two judges at the Court Martial Appeal Court in London to grant him bail on Friday.

After a hearing lasting more than an hour, Lord Chief Justice Lord Thomas and Mr Justice Openshaw adjourned the case until next Wednesday.

Lord Thomas said the court would decide the issue of bail at that stage after hearing further submissions from the prosecution.

The bail move followed the announcement by the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC), the independent body which investigates possible miscarriages of justice, of its decision to refer Blackman's conviction and sentence to the court for review.

Lord Thomas announced that the court "has postponed until further order the reporting of what has transpired at the hearing today in the interests of justice".

But he said that his short judgment, given at the end of the hearing, "may be reported".

Blackman's wife Claire was present in court with dozens of supporters.

She left the Royal Courts of Justice to cheers and applause from the many servicemen who attended.

There were shouts of "justice" and "see you on Wednesday" as she departed.

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