Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

'Reckless disregard' shown by officer, court martial told

On trial in deadly training accident

  • Print

SHILO -- Master Cpl. Paul Ravensdale showed "wanton and reckless disregard" for the lives of his colleagues when he led a training exercise that left one soldier dead and four seriously injured, a prosecutor told a court martial Monday.

"No soldier needs to die on a range," prosecutor Maj. Tony Tamburro said in his opening statement.

"(Ravensdale) gave the order to fire those C-19s while his troops were in the danger zone and not undercover."

Ravensdale, who is now retired, is the third soldier to face a court martial in the Feb. 12, 2010 incident on a weapons training range in Afghanistan. He is accused of manslaughter, unlawfully causing bodily harm, two counts of breach of duty and two counts of negligence.

The soldiers were testing anti-personnel landmines, C-19s, that were new to the mission. When the landmines are detonated during tests, soldiers are supposed to be at least 100 metres behind or sheltered by being in dugouts or inside vehicles.

Instead, military personnel were walking close by, completely unprotected, Tamburro said, and all of it was captured on video to be shown today.

"The video will show people walking around or standing fully upright in direct line sight of the C-19."

Something went wrong when the C-19 was set off. Instead of projecting forward, some of the 700 steel balls inside shot backward, piercing through the flesh of four soldiers.

Four balls struck Cpl. Josh Baker, including a chest shot that killed him. Four others suffered puncture wounds -- one had an injured kidney.

Ravensdale pleaded not guilty to all six charges Monday. Dressed in a grey suit, he sat beside his two lawyers and paid close attention throughout the proceedings.

Ravensdale was a weapons expert described as "very stoic, calm, capable" by his commanding officer, Maj. Christopher Lunney. Lunney has since been demoted to captain and given a severe reprimand after pleading guilty to negligent performance of duty in the incident.

The other soldier charged in the incident, Maj. Darryl Watts, is awaiting sentencing on charges of negligence and unlawfully causing bodily harm.

Lunney told the court martial Monday he made a mistake in appointing Ravensdale as both the person in charge of the test and the range safety officer that day -- protocol requires the tasks be given to different people for weapons such as the C-19.

Lunney was at the range when the accident happened. He recalled being about 100 metres away and helping medics afterward. He also recalled noticing something. The steel balls had struck light armoured vehicles that were parked behind the C-19. Tires were punctured, antennas were bent and the vehicle's bodies had small dents in them.

But Tamburro wanted to know whether any of the vehicles, which would have been safe areas for the soldiers, were penetrated by the steel balls? "None," Lunney replied.

 

-- The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 29, 2013 A5

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

Interview with Bobbi Ethier of Wasylycia-Leis campaign

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 goose comes in for a landing Thursday morning through heavy fog on near Hyw 59 just north of Winnipeg - Day 17 Of Joe Bryksa’s 30 day goose challenge - May 24, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Has the attack on Parliament hill shaken your faith in Canada's ability to protect its citizens from terrorist threats?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google