Yorkshire & North Lincolnshire MEP welcomes reduction in sentence to seven years for ‘Marine A’ and calls for changes in the way court martial tribunals are run in the future
Yorkshire & North Lincolnshire MEP, Mike Hookem, has welcomed the prospective release of Royal Marine Sergeant, Alexander Blackman as a “victory for justice and great news for Alex and his family.”
Mr Hookem’s comments came after a panel of Court Martial Appeal Court judges reduced the sentence of the long-serving Royal Marine Sergeant – also known as ‘Marine A’ – to seven years following the downgrading of his conviction for murdering a wounded Taliban fighter to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.
Speaking of the Royal Marine’s prospective release in the next few weeks, Mr Hookem said, “I am very pleased that Alex will soon be at home with his wife and family, where he belongs. In my opinion, Sgt Blackman should never have been in prison in the first place, so today’s news is most welcome.
“But while recognise that Alex’s release is a victory for justice, I think lessons need to be learned about how the military investigate and prosecute troops and veterans accused of potential war-crimes moving forward.
“Having heard first-hand from Alex’s family and leaders of the Free Marine A campaign quite what pressures Alex was under and what his state of mind was at the time of this incident, I simply cannot understand why medical evidence was not considered at the original trial.
“The simple fact is, it should not have taken a long-running and high-profile campaign to get real justice for a serving member of our armed forces and we cannot allow a repetition of this situation.
“However, moving forward, it has been reported that Alex has been invited to re-join the Royal Marines; an offer that I hope he gives serious consideration. The British Armed forces need men of his calibre and experience, and I am sure he still has many years of valuable service left to give."