Identity of soldier guilty of murder should be kept secret, court hears
The unique and historic nature of the conviction of a British marine who was found guilty of murdering an injured Afghan prisoner means his identity should continue to be kept secret, an appeal court was told on Wednesday.
Lawyers for the man, who can still be only named as Marine A, claimed that he and his family would be in danger of reprisals from Islamist terrorists if he was identified.
Some media organisations, including the Guardian, have argued that the Royal Marine sergeant – and other members of the patrol who were with him at the time of the killing – ought to be named in the interests of open justice.
But at a hearing before the court martial appeal court in London, A’s barrister, Hugh Tomlinson QC, claimed: “This is a unique case. It is the first conviction of a British service person in a combat context for 60 years. It’s the first in the context of the Islamist terrorist threat.”
Tomlinson accepted that open justice was of “great importance” but he said the attention of terrorists would be “uniquely attracted” to Marine A and his family.
Marine A was convicted of murder earlier this month after a court martial in Wiltshire. The board hearing the case was shown a video of the moment when he shot a suspected insurgent dead. After discharging his pistol into the helpless man’s chest, Marine A told him: “There you are, shuffle off this mortal coil, you cunt. It’s nothing you wouldn’t do to us.” Moments later, he said to colleagues: “Obviously this doesn’t go anywhere fellas. I’ve just broken the Geneva Convention.”………