Sgt Danny Nightingale court martial(35 Posts)
Is this madness or am I missing something?
I really don't understand why he has been shown no leniency.
I read about this today. It's awful. These men and women give so much for this country and this is how we repay them - when he didn't even pack his own bag?!
On the surface of it (and I don't know any more than the news reports) this is a terrible mistake. I can easily believe that he had a box of kit that he hadn't opened for years - I have two such boxes in my parents loft that I haven't been into since 1993 - I haven't got the foggiest what is in there.
I can also easily believe that he was given a gun by an Iraqi local - so was my DH. Difference being that DH disposed of his in the 'bomb pit' before he left Iraq, which I assume Sgt Nightingale intended to do. I also remember vividly the mine that was used as a doorstop in Bosnia for 6 months - until someone realised it was live
I believe the Army Prosecuting Service has scored a serious own goal here.
I don't understand why it appears to have had next to no news coverage other than in print media. Why not on the tv/radio news? I've never written to my MP (who is Home Sec to can pass it on to the MOD) but I'm seriously thinking of doing so for this case.
I agree that it seems that 18 months is very very steep and I dont really understand why it is so steep, however, on the other side of this. What would happen if the gun had never been found and this soldier went amok for unknown reasons with a gun in the local highstreet next week killing xx innocent people. The same press and public would be up in arms asking why did he have this gun and 300 rounds of live ammo, why was he not checked, why didnt anyone follow up on this etc etc.
Found in an 'unrelated police search'...
I may be a cynic, but I'd say they were just doing him for this in lieu of whatever it was they couldn't find evidence of, tbh.
Yy, War trophies everywhere, but 2007 is way too recent for him and his mates (whoever packed his bags) not to know full well that there is a raft of policy concerning bringing stuff home. They knew what they had to do for it to be shipped legitimately and chose not to do it, for whatever reason.
They knew exactly what they were doing, and they got caught. They probably thought they were doing him a favour, but trying to get it back under the wire.
It's no wonder that the same dudes are appealing to keep him out of jail, lol.
Guilt trip, much?
They said in a report on Radio 5 today that after he was charged they had an amnesty in Hereford for undeclared weapons and loads were handed in, including a rocket launcher .
Well, that's what I mean. There are freaking loads of trophies everywhere. And they have to have an amnesty because they all know damned well they aren't allowed to have them unless they've been decommissioned/ certified.
I'm thrilled that you're shocked, but really, it's a no brainer.
<and the Hereford boys only handed the stuff in because they were told no consequences and knew they'd get locked up if they were caught with it, after this>
What are you hoping to achieve by contacting your MP/ the MOD? Just a bit more bad publicity for the military? Or were you hoping that suddenly the populace will see that arms being brought into the country is a good thing and that there's no need to jail people for it? I suspect you might be disappointed...
I can't see it sticking as I'm sure his med team will argue that it is detrimental to his health after his
bad admin collapse etc, but it'll certainly be reasonably effective as a deterrent to trophies. Hence the amnesty...
You might be interested in a current case running in Calgary, Alberta, where a reservist is being court martialled for the death of a subordinate on a training range in Afghanistan.
He wasn't even there, but as the senior rank, he's carrying the can.
I do agree with Eve about the boxes thing though. we have unopened boxes, and were even holding some for friends at one point. The difference being, we aren't dumb enough to bring home souvenirs. Or not under the wire ones anyway. I assume these boys think the normal rules don't apply...
I have a friend who 'disappeared' for a long while after the dogs went positive on his boxes for explosives. It turned out to be a false positive, but when they searched them, they found a fair amount of home made porn that had been filmed in the single service accommodation . So, that kept them busy, anyway.
I find it odd that his gear was packed by others and sent to Hereford for storage because he had to go back to the UK to tell someone a member of his team had been killed and yet he is the one who is charged? Why wasn't the person who packed his gear charged as they were responsible for shipping back to the UK (where I assume the apparent crime was committed).
It will never have been logged that way, it will just have been his mates chucking stuff in a box. No way of proving it, they won't have been using the correct forms and writing down everything they were packing, as would normally happen. I'm vaguely curious who signed the air waybill (because I'm a pedant) but I'm willing to bet there was either no paperwork at all (and it was checked by a mate claiming it was his) or just said 'PEs'.
In any case, I assume he's not been charged with bringing into the country illegally, just being in possession of it. Which he undoubtedly was. <shrug>
It will have been his choice to go back in a hurry to break news to family. Plenty of others to do it in UK. So no 'had to' except a strong personal desire to. Which is fine, and very moral. But to have PEs shipped back from ops in his circs, I'm struggling to believe he hasn't been in the box since for his gear. And struggling to believe that he forgot he had the thing, even for the two years prior to his collapse.
He won't do 18mos. He'll be out in three. If that.
And I still think there's a lot unsaid. No idea who/ when the last bloke charged with possession of a similar trophy, but he/ they took a punt on not getting caught (like everyone else who dumped stuff during the amnesty) and were unlucky.
He'll have lost count of the number of times he's had to swear 'I have no live rounds, misfires, or empty cases in my possession', to claim he 'forgot' is risible.
He took a chance, and he got caught.
Hey fricking' ho.
He wasn't in possession of it in the UK, it was in storage. He never had it once he left Iraq and it stayed there. He didn't even remember he had the gun let alone possess it.
The sentence length is irrelevant. I assume he will have had a dishonourable discharge (or whatever it is called) and that is appalling for a man that gave such immense military service for his country.
madwoman have you actually read the facts of the case or are you just saying that all soldiers are the same and being generic in your comments? He suffered a brain injury that caused memory loss.
Yes, he did. Two years after his Iraq tour. On a fundraising thang in 2009.
I read the article. <shrugs> I know loads of soldiers, sailors and airman who have trophies. One got caught. It isn't a particularly big deal. It was packed upAND RETURNED TO HIM BY HIS COLLEAGUES. He had it in the UK. In Hereford. It may have been in the unit storage (article doesn't say) but loads of blokes leave kit at work. My friend above had his stuff in the unit storage.
Sure - I get that it's a pretty dumb thing to lock someone up for. But them's the breaks. He knew, and his mates knew, that bringing it back to the UK could result in this.
Do I think he should be locked up? Not particularly. Do I think he was a dumb ass? Yes. Do I think his mates were? Yes.
They all knew they shouldn't bring the stuff back. Most of them ignore that.
The brain injury two years after the actual event is something of a misnomer. It does give his legal team a way of shortening the sentence though.
(Dh was blown up btw. We're very used to military types with brain injury and memory loss here. So I'm not being heartless. I'm saying they all took the chance to bring back a trophy, before his collapse on a fundraiser and now he's paying the price. In this circ I do wonder if he wasn't the perfect fall guy to try and stop everyone bringing this stuff back. Again.
There's only so many posters you can put up to remind them they aren't allowed to. Presumably someone felt that a prison sentence might be a more effective deterrent.
I should also add that dh got blown up in a training accident. the glorious powers that be decided the bloke who blew him up had done nowt wrong, and promoted him.
Never let it be said that I think military justice makes sense. That isn't at all my point.
madwoman I'm sorry to read your dh was injured. I supposed what I struggle with is the fact that justice has not been done here it has just been seen to be done, which makes a mockery of justice itself and no one wins when that happens.
Weeeeeellllll, I dunno. It might make the young lads think twice about smuggling trophies. It's a pisser for Danny, as he's only done what everyone else was doing all the way along, but they all knew the potential outcome. So, I dunno, there will probably be less of this stuff being brought back as a direct result.
So, he gets to be the fall guy with a lighter sentence because of his med circs. I'm curious why they decided to go after him, particularly (and I still want to know what they were looking for in the 'unrelated' investigation that threw this up ) I mean, it could have been anyone.
I'll eat my hat if he does more than 3 mos though.
Have just read the other stuff btw. The pistol was in the house he was living in at the time (shared with another bloke whose wife had accused him of assault - which is presumably why the police were searching the place) not in storage. It had been in storage, but he'd taken it home. (Well, to the house he was living in, not home where his wife and family were living).
He should have had it decommissioned and presented to the Mess like he had planned to. Silly silly.
It does back up another thread about the paucity of care for brain injured troops though. <sigh> Different subject, but the whole thing is a mess.
I think he was properly convicted, but the sentence sounds harsh. It does depend what the sentencing guidelines/relevant statutes are though. He may have been given the lowest sentence the judge felt he could impose.
And we are all assuming that his arguments about memory loss/storage etc were accepted. Possibly he has got this conviction and sentence because the judge did not accept those parts of his case. Certainly one account of the case that I read suggested the judge didn't accept the memory loss caused him to completely forget about the gun.
Just for a moment imagine he is a black guy who took a gun off someone in a gang.
And then stored it at home and 'forgot' - would you feel the same.
Yes I know this guy served his country and lost friends, but that is not part of the law. The law relates to being in posession of a gun.
Very pleased that he's been released today with a 12 mth suspended sentence. Far more appropriate sentence.
Errrm, so what happened to the mandatory 5 years for possession of a firearm ?
I'm pleased he's been released. The sentence was extraordinarily harsh.
The sentence is too harsh. Yes he had a gun. But the fact he had a memory loss condition I think is a large mitigating circumstance here. I dont think anyone has challenged that condition so everyone accepts it is true.
Plus the gun was stored for years at the base. If he had intended to smuggle it in, he'd have to been extraordinarily patient.
If he didn't have the memory condition I'd be more likely to think he's trying it on
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