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Panel receiving instructions in former soldier’s Manitoba court martial

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SHILO, Man. — A five-member military panel is set to begin deliberations Wednesday morning in the court martial of a former Manitoba soldier.

Paul Ravensdale, a retired warrant officer, faces six charges including manslaughter in a deadly training accident in Afghanistan.

The military judge presiding over the case, Col. Mario Dutil, started giving his instructions to the panel Tuesday evening and will continue Wednesday morning.

Dutil has been telling the panel members the factors they must consider as they decide whether to convict or acquit Ravensdale.

"You must make your decision based on all of the evidence presented to you in the courtroom, and only that evidence," Dutil said, adding the panel members must ignore reports in the media and comments on social media platforms such as Twitter.

Ravensdale led a test of anti-personnel mines on a weapons range in February 2010.

One of the mines went off incorrectly, shooting hundreds of steel ball bearings backward instead of forward.

The ball bearings killed Cpl. Joshua Baker and injured four others.

The prosecution alleges Ravensdale ignored safety rules and allowed soldiers to stand too close to the mines without protection.

Ravensdale’s lawyer has said Ravensdale was simply following plans approved by his superiors.

Two of Ravensdale’s superiors have already been convicted in the case.

Maj. Christopher Lunney was demoted to captain and given a severe reprimand after pleading guilty to negligent performance of duty.

Maj. Darryl Watts is awaiting sentencing on negligence and unlawfully causing bodily harm.

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