Saturday, October 29, 2016

Demonstration for Sergeant Blackman

Jonathan Goldberg QC
Herewith The Daily Mail's account of a demonstration in support of Royal Marines Sgt. Alexander Blackman ("Marine A"), who received an 8-year sentence for what some call a mercy killing. The case is pending before the Criminal Cases Review Commission. Excerpt:
QC Jonathan Goldberg, who is acting for Blackman, told the crowd that English law does not recognise a 'mercy killing', but in the past authorities had the sense not to press charges in such cases. 
Mr Goldberg said a soldier would now have to 'ring his solicitor before firing his rifle'.*
Footage from another marine's helmet-mounted camera showed Blackman quoting Shakespeare before shooting the insurgent. 
He told the fighter: 'There you are. Shuffle off this mortal coil, you c***. It's nothing you wouldn't do to us.' 
Blackman's minimum sentence was reduced to eight years but his challenge to the outcome of the original trial was unsuccessful.
* Editor's note. Given the facts of the case, this is complete flapdoodle. [Footnote added.]

1 comment:

  1. English law does not recognise a 'mercy killing', but in the past authorities had the sense not to press charges in such cases. 

    Given previous debates in parliament my view is that the current stance on mercy killings or euthanasia in unlikely to change. Have authorities in the past ignored such issues? Perhaps, but with increasing wartime surveillance, social media access, or even confessions to mercy killings whilst writing a book, the prosecuting authorities will be faced with more cases in the future.

    Should the Services Prosecuting Authority in certain circumstances ignore the law? Who is qualified to pick if the law applies, or does not apply, and to whom? Which laws can Servicemen ignore and when? Questions such as this can only inevitably lead to a slippery slope whereby the law becomes pointless as it is seen to be disregarded.

    Although it is frustrating to the thousands of Royal Marines who marched to Parliament Square. The authorities have to uphold the law, and not pick and choose who the law applies to. There is an overwhelming view in the media that my opinion is completely wrong, but I fear it would be detrimental to the professionalism of our Armed Forces if we turned a blind eye to mercy killings.

    To be brutally honest, after reading Sgt Maclachlan case I still think it would set a dangerous precedent for the SPA to not prosecute. That's not to say I disagree with his actions or fail to see the requirement for the SAS to operate in such a manor. The protection given to the SAS is the anonymity. The very secretive nature of being an elite special force, I would imagine, mean mercy killings would not be investigated because the Prosecuting Authorities would not need to know. When former SAS soldiers appear as celebrities and write books they loose the protection of their anonymity, and the secretively of their actions.


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