Atrocious decision to prosecute Australian soldiers

There is no way that soldiers in the heat of battle can always make wise decisions. And I don't see that they made unwise decisions, anyway. They were under fire from close range and had to shoot back. It's the ignorant bitch who laid the charges who should be disciplined. What would she know about fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan?

The step-father of a Melbourne digger killed in Afghanistan has warned charges laid against elite soldiers over the deaths of five children will cost more Aussie lives.

"My biggest worry is that it will make (soldiers) hesitant about going into combat situations where they have to make a quick judgement but have the added pressure of waiting...which will cost them lives," he said.

He also questioned the decision of Australia's top military prosecutor Brigadier Lyn McDade. "This should have been handled with an inquest first by the army before the decision to lay charges."

The three elite soldiers were involved in a night raid near a village in Oruzgan Province on February 12, 2009 that left five children dead, another two injured and two adults wounded. One suspected insurgent was killed.

One soldier yesterday was charged with manslaughter, and another faces lesser charges including a failure to follow orders and dangerous conduct. The third will be charged when he returns to Australia.

Australia's top military prosecutor, Brigadier Lyn McDade, yesterday confirmed the charges against three former members of No. 1 Commando Regiment.

The unprecedented legal action has sent shockwaves through the military, with sources on army bases saying the decision had left a "bitter feeling through the military". The possible jailing of the trio had caused "enormous angst and upset", with defence personnel discussing Brig McDade's statement as they went about their work.

The commandos - one of whom is understood to be a former Victorian policeman - have received strong support from families of soldiers killed in Afghanistan. It's understood two of the soldiers are reservists and one is a regular.

The Director of Military Prosecutions said the accused men would be charged with various offences including manslaughter and failing to obey orders.

But Victoria Cross recipient Keith Payne said the charges against the soldiers should be dropped on the grounds they were fighting for survival. "It's a sad incident, but the enemy has always used the cover of children and the civilian population," the Vietnam veteran said. "These blokes would have drawn fire and not known there were children and gone in protecting themselves."

The father of commando Pte Greg Sher, who was killed in a Taliban rocket attack in January last year, also condemned the charges as "totally unfair". "I would urge Lyn McDade to proceed with caution lest she send out the wrong message," Felix Sher said.

Mr Sher said the Taliban had no regard for human life, placing civilians at risk to protect themselves. "It makes life difficult (for Australian soldiers). It's all very well going by the Geneva Convention, but these insurgents don't operate under the Geneva Convention," he said.

Two of the soldiers yesterday vowed to defend the charges through court. "We are deeply disappointed by the decision of the Director of Military Prosecutions to charge us with offences arising from the incident in Afghanistan on the night of 12 February, 2009," the soldiers, identified only as A and B, said in a statement through legal firm Kennedys.

"We will strenuously defend the charges and we look forward to the opportunity of publicly clearing our reputations, as well as the reputation of the ADF."

They said their actions had saved the lives of Australian and Afghani soldiers involved in the raid.

"It should not be forgotten that the casualties were ultimately caused by the callous and reckless act of an insurgent who chose to repeatedly fire upon us at extreme close range from within a room he knew contained women and children," they said.

The decision to lay charges comes days after the Herald Sun revealed frontline soldiers were complaining they were not getting sufficient support.



  1. Absolutely rediculous. Not only are hey being persecuted for helping to improve these peoples lives, but they are not getting adequate support, and now that the lefists in the form of Labor have got power again i don't see anything changing. And while they all do nothing our boys will continue to fight and die for a cess[it of a nation that i don't think is worth even one Australian life.

  2. " ... Australia's top military prosecutor Brigadier Lyn McDade ... "

    A brigadier. I wonder if she even knows which end of a rifle is the dangerous bit.

  3. This prosecution is an absolute disgrace. If the prosecutor had any experience of combat, she would know that it is not possible to recreate in a court marshall setting the incident and all its nuances - including the immediate and imminent danger the combatants were in (and all the pressures that situation brings).
    Lyn McDade is no soldier. She is just as up herself as any other self-serving barrister who would never get out of their comfort zone to serve their country.
    I'm disgusted with McDade and all ADF senior officers for not having the balls to find her a job more suited to her talents. (You would not print my suggestions about what that job should be).

  4. I am horrified!!! These men have put their lives on the line protecting people who have zero appreciation of it. Now they are being condemned for defending themselves. They are being punished for not coming home in a body bag!!! Shame shame shame on the Australian military beauracrats!!!!

  5. After reading your blog i have to express my deep dissapointment over your ignorance for our legal system. For better or worse the job of Brigadier McDade is to decide whether or not there is enough evidence to proceed with a criminal case against a member of military personell. This decision was obviously not made lightly. It took 18 months after the initial incident for the Department of Military Prosecutions to decide whether or not there was enough evidence to prosecute. Whether or not members of the public like it, Brigadier McDade, as an experience member of the legal profession and an experienced member of the Australian Army (research her history yourself if you doubt this)has acted in the course of her job. Now I am in no position to say whether or not her decision was the right one as, like most people, I have not examined any evidence or interviewed witnesses. What I will say however with the strongest of my convictions is that under no circumstances is any on entitled to call Brigadier McDade an "ignorant bitch" when she is acting within the scope of her duty. I personally express my hope that whatever the outcome of this unfortunate situation, a slander case is successful against ignorant members of the public who slam and vilify an intelligent woman who is acting within the scope of her duty and deliberating upon evidence which she must make a decion upon. I can only express my deepest regret and sympathies to both the familes of all soldiers who have been killed in combat and those ignorant members of the Australian public who fail to respect and understand the process of the legal system. Tiffany L

  6. @ Anoymous, It doesn't matter, the fact is as a soldier you have a split second to react, what happened was not the Australian soldiers fault. The blame lies with the terrorist who chose to hide in a house and use other women and children as human shields, he then proceded to open fire at close range on Australian soldiers, who then reacted as they would normally. The fact is these troops should not face any charges for doing their duty.

  7. There appears to be allegations amongst the legal profession that Brigadier (sic) McDade brought the charges against the soldiers to enchance her application for a position as a War Crimes Judge at the Hague. As no case to answer was found in relation to these two soldiers now is the time for formal charges to be brought against McDade - such as conduct unbecoming an officer or if she has indeed applied for a postion at the Hague more serious charges should be brought. She is a disgrace to the uniform and could not in anyway lay claim to the honourable distinction of being a soldier.

  8. Anonymous. She is a direct appointment officer. To use the term soldier to describe her is both incorrect and an insult to anyone who has served and worn the uniform with pride. Lets see, an officer burning others to further their own career? Nothing new there.

  9. Tiffany L, I take it she is a personal friend of yours. Probably the only one she's got. Well suck it up sweetheart becaus the courtmartial case is now dropped and she is busy wiping egg of her face.


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