13.02.2018 ( Last modified: 18.04.2019 )
Trial Watch would like to remind its users that any person charged by national or international authorities is presumed innocent until proven guilty.
Alexander Blackman, a British man from Somerset, England, was the commander of the 42 Commando, a patrol of the Royal Marines serving as part of the British Armed Forces. The 42 Commando was sent to Afghanistan for a six-month tour of duty to Helmand province. On 15 September 2011, two Taliban insurgents started firing at the 42 Commando’s patrol base. One of the attackers was seriously injured by gunfire from an Apache helicopter sent to provide air support, and the marines found him in a field.
A footage from an unofficial helmet-mounted camera of another marine shows Alexander Blackman shooting the wounded Taliban fighter in the chest at a close range with a pistol.
On 13 October 2012, Alexander Blackman and other four members of the patrol were indicted for the murder of the Afghan insurgent. On 5 February 2013, the prosecution discontinued the proceedings against two of the indicted Marines. In August 2013, Alexander Blackman and the two-other co-accused pleaded not guilty. On 23 October 2013, the trial before the Court Martial commenced.
On 8 November 2013, the Military Court Centre in Bulford found Alexander Blackman guilty of murder and convicted him to life sentence, with a minimum term to 10 years in prison. The Court acquitted the two other co-accused. On 22 May 2014, the Court Martial Appeal Court in London upheld Alexander Blackman’s life sentence, but reduced his minimum term to eight years in prison regarding the effect the stress and the nature of the conflict in Afghanistan had on him.
Subsequently, the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) was asked to consider the conviction and sentence of the court, on the basis of voluminous further information regarding psychiatric evidence of the accused at the moment of the killing, between others. On 15 December 2016, the CCRC referred the case to the Court Martial Appeal Court. On February 2017, the Court held the hearing of the appeal against the conviction by reason of diminished responsibility.
On 15 March 2017, the Court Martial Appeal Court reduced the conviction of Alexander Blackman from murder to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility. His dismissal from military service remains, although it is no longer dishonourable. On 28 March 2017, Alexander Blackman was sentenced by the Courts Martial Appeal Court to seven years in prison for manslaughter, but was given credit for time already served, and was freed on 28 April 2017.