The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Appeal date set for Calgary reservist convicted in fatal training accident

  • Print

CALGARY - An appeal date has been set in April for a veteran Canadian Forces reservist convicted for his role in a deadly Afghanistan training accident.

Darryl Watts was found guilty in December 2012 of unlawfully causing bodily harm and negligent performance of military duty, but not guilty of manslaughter.

He was demoted two ranks to lieutenant from major and given a severe reprimand.

Watts filed an appeal of both his sentence and conviction last year.

The Court Martial Appeal Court has scheduled a one-day hearing for April 4 in Calgary.

Cpl. Josh Baker, 24, died when a C-19 Claymore anti-personnel mine loaded with 700 steel balls peppered a platoon on a practice range in February 2010. Four other soldiers hit by the blast were seriously injured.

The prosecution argued during the trial that Watts, who was the platoon commander, didn't enforce safety standards and abdicated his duty as leader when he handed over responsibility for safety on the range to Warrant Officer Paul Ravensdale.

Watts argued that he had never been trained on the C-19 and as a result was not qualified to be in charge.

The director of military prosecutions has filed a cross-appeal. The prosecution had argued for jail time for Watts in addition to his dismissal with disgrace from the Canadian Forces.

Maj. Tony Tamburro confirmed last year that the Crown would seek a greater punishment than the sentence imposed by the court martial.

Defence lawyer, Balfour Der, has indicated the judge should have allowed the jury to consider Watts's lack of experience in the use of the C-19 in determining whether he was negligent.

The day of the accident, the range was divided into four training sections. The first two tests of the anti-personnel mine went off without a hitch. But on the next one, the ball bearings fired backwards, hitting Baker and the others.

Videos show several soldiers, including Watts, standing around watching the test. They are not inside armoured vehicles or standing behind them for cover, as set out in military safety regulations.

Two other soldiers have also been convicted for their roles that day.

Christopher Lunney pleaded guilty Sept. 13, 2012, to negligent performance of duty for failing to ensure Watts was properly qualified on the C-19. He said he had assumed that to be the case, because of Watts's rank. Lunney was demoted one rank to captain from major and received a severe reprimand.

Ravensdale, who was running the exercise that day, was found guilty last year of breach of duty causing death, breach of duty causing bodily harm, unlawfully causing bodily harm and negligent performance of military duty. He, too, was acquitted of manslaughter.

The now-retired soldier was given a six-month suspended sentence. He also received a fine and demoted one rank to sergeant.

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Blake Wheeler talks about past season

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • KEN GIGLIOTTI / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS / Jan 10  2011 ‚Äì WEB STDUP ‚Äì Frosty morning at -15 degrees C , in pic frost covers the the Nellie McClung statue  on the MB Legislature grounds at 7am
  • A water lily in full bloom is reflected in the pond at the Leo Mol Sculpture Garden Tuesday afternoon. Standup photo. Sept 11,  2012 (Ruth Bonneville/Winnipeg Free Press)

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Do you agree with the province’s crackdown on flavoured tobacco products?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google