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Court Martial: Witness Statements

Volume 690: debated on Tuesday 27 March 2007

asked Her Majesty's Government:

In connection with the recent acquittal of six defendants at the court martial arising from the death in Basra in 2003 of Mr Baha Mousa and related matters (a) whether they will identify the accused, specifying the offences with which each was charged and the outcome of each charge; (b) whether each of the accused made a statement under caution; and, if so, whether such statement was put to the court in evidence; and (c) who made sworn witness statements, specifying whether such witness statements were put to the court and whether the witnesses were examined and cross-examined. [HL2721]

The men who were directed by the Army Prosecuting Authority to stand trial were:

Corporal Donald Payne—charged with three offences: (i) inhuman treatment of persons; (ii) manslaughter; and (iii) perverting the course of justice. He pleaded guilty to the first charge; the Judge Advocate dismissed the other two charges against him at the close of the prosecution case.

Sergeant Kelvin Lee Stacey—charged with assault occasioning actual bodily harm, alternatively common assault. The Court Martial Board dismissed the assault occasioning actual bodily harm towards the end of the prosecution case. The Judge Advocate dismissed the common assault charge against him at the close of the prosecution case.

Colonel Jorge Emmanuel Mendonca—charged with negligently performing a duty. The Judge Advocate dismissed the charge against him at the close of the prosecution case.

Lance Corporal Wayne Ashley Croweroft—charged with inhuman treatment of persons. The Judge Advocate dismissed the charge against him at the close of the prosecution case.

Private Darren Trevor Fallon—charged with inhuman treatment of persons. The Judge Advocate dismissed the charge against him at the close of the prosecution case.

Major Michael Edwin Peebles—charged with negligently performing a duty. The Court Martial Board returned a not guilty verdict at the end of the trial.

Warrant Officer Mark Lester Davies—charged with neglecting to perform a duty. The Court Martial Board returned a not guilty verdict at the end of the trial.

All seven accused made statements under caution, which were all put to the court in evidence.

Schedules providing details of the prosecution witnesses who made signed witness statements; specifying whether such statements were put to the court; and whether the witnesses were examined or cross-examined have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

In connection with the recent acquittal of six defendants at the court martial arising from the death in Basra in 2003 of Mr Baha Mousa and related matters, how many witness statements were taken in translation and whether any procedural flaws were identified in them. [HL2722]

Nine of the detainees, through the assistance of interpreters, provided the Royal Military Police with a total of 22 witness statements, which were recorded in Arabic. These statements were translated into English. The Army Prosecuting Authority has reported that there were some minor translation errors, but these caused no significant difficulty during the trial.