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  1. ITV Report

Marine wins appeal against murder conviction

A Royal Marine who shot an injured Taliban fighter in Afghanistan has won an appeal against his murder conviction.

Sergeant Alexander Blackman, 42, from Taunton, Somerset, had the conviction quashed by five judges at the Court Martial Appeal Court.

They replaced it with manslaughter on the ground of diminished responsibility.

His wife Claire Blackman said she was "delighted" by the decision to reduce her husband's murder conviction saying it "much better reflects the circumstances that my husband found himself in during that terrible tour of Afghanistan".

She added, "we must now hope to secure a significant reduction in the sentence."

There will now be a further hearing at a date, to be fixed, to decide on the sentence he has to serve.

Supporter gathered outside court today Credit: ITV News

In 2011, whilst serving in Afghanistan, Alexander Blackman killed a wounded Taliban fighter.

Two years later, he was convicted of murder and given a life sentence which he must serve at least ten years of it. That minimum sentence was shortened to eight years after a previous appeal.

In his original trial in a military court, Blackman pleaded not guilty to murder, claiming he believed the Afghan man was dead before he shot him. The panel disagreed and convicted him of murder, triggering a massive campaign to free the former Marine.

An appeal was granted because of new mental health evidence, doubts about the representation at the original trial and the fact a conviction of unlawful act Manslaughter wasn't previously considered.

Supporters outside court Credit: ITV News

An appeal was granted earlier this year because of new mental health evidence, doubts about the representation at the original trial and the fact a conviction of unlawful act Manslaughter wasn't previously considered.

During the appeal his new legal team argued that Blackman was suffering from a mental health condition called 'Adjustment Disorder' which three psychiatrists said impaired soldiers ability to make 'rational decisions'.

They argued that as he killed the fighter he did so because of his mental health condition.

Throughout the appeal Blackman's legal team kept pointing out how dangerous the country was in 2011 and that 'every step could be a soldier's last'.

They argued that this would have contributed to the soldier's mental illness.

Wednesday's decision by the five judges is just the next step in Blackman's appeal process. He will stay in prison.

Next week his legal team will be back in court to argue for a fresh sentence which may mean he'll be released in the coming weeks.