One in the eye for a nasty bitch: "The Director of Military Prosecutions, Lyn McDade"

She's not even a good lawyer, let alone knowing anything about army combat. Prosecuting our men for defending themselves was always utter slime. Get rid of the stupid bitch!

THE case against two army reservists charged with manslaughter in Afghanistan will not go to a court martial after a judge advocate yesterday dismissed the charges. However, Sergeant J and Lance Corporal D could still face alternative charges pending a decision by the Director of Military Prosecutions, Lyn McDade.

At a pre-trial hearing in Sydney, judge advocate Ian Westwood dismissed the case against Sergeant J and Lance Corporal D. That means a court martial set down for July 11 will not go ahead and Brigadier McDade must now decide whether to bring different charges against the soldiers.

It is not clear what yesterday's decision means for a third soldier - the unit's commander - who is yet to face a court martial and whether the lieutenant colonel is likely still to be prosecuted.

The charges related to a February 12, 2009, incident involving members of the Special Operations Task Group undertaking a compound clearance operation in Oruzgan province. Six civilians, including five children, were killed. [When a Talib fired on our men at close range from the middle of a room housing the women and children. The deaths were entirely on the head of the Taliban!]

Sergeant J and Lance Corporal D had been charged with manslaughter and, in the alternative, two counts of dangerous conduct, with negligence as to consequence.

Brigadier Westwood agreed with their defence team that the charges should be thrown out because they "did not disclose service offences". He said the issue of whether there was a duty of care was of "fundamental importance".

It had to be established that the soldiers had a duty of care before it could be decided whether or not they'd been negligent. But in reading through the Defence Force Discipline Act, he found an "absence of plain words" on any duty of care to non-combatants.

Brigadier Westwood said his ruling did not detract from the personal tragedy inherent in the prosecution's allegations or diminish the importance of the lives lost.

He said soldiers were in a unique position when they were engaged in armed combat. Australian law authorised the application of force, including lethal force, when troops were sent into combat. In fact, soldiers were compelled on "pain of penalty" to carry out attacks on the enemy and they could not simply decide not to take any further part in hostilities.

There was rarely time for calm reflection in what were frequently life or death situations. He noted that the prosecution had been unable to find previous cases where manslaughter charges were brought in an active combat situation and that illustrated the difficulty in proving a duty of care.

Former defence force chief Peter Cosgrove said he felt relief for the soldiers, who had got their lives back. "They had to stand up straight and let the legal system work itself out," he told Macquarie Radio. "It must have been terrible for them and their loved ones and their mates while they went through this process."

Lawyer Patrick George, who represented Sergeant J, said last night the charges were misconceived because soldiers clearly did not owe a legally enforceable duty of care for their actions in combat.


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