Canadian soldier charged in comrade's shooting death

RackMaster

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Canadian soldier charged in comrade's shooting death

The military's National Investigation Service has charged a Canadian soldier with manslaughter in the shooting death of a fellow soldier in Afghanistan.

Master Cpl. Jeffrey Walsh was killed last Aug. 9 when a gun went off during a routine patrol outside Kandahar. The military has been tight-lipped about the circumstances surrounding Walsh's death, but described the incident at the time as an accidental shooting.

The 33-year-old soldier with the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry had been six days into his second tour in Afghanistan. His father, Ben Walsh, said his son was seated in a G-Wagon armoured vehicle when another soldier's gun went off.

Master Cpl. Robbie Fraser, also with the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry, was charged Monday with one count of manslaughter and one count of negligent performance of duty, the NIS said Monday in a release.

Fraser is now stationed at CFB Shilo in Manitoba, where both soldiers were based.

Walsh grew up in Regina and Avonlea, Sask., about 80 kilometres southwest of the city. He was survived by his wife and three young children.

Walsh's father, who had been lobbying defence officials for months for details of his son's death, told CBC News Monday the charges closed "another chapter in our book."

"It really doesn't matter what charge would be laid," Walsh said from his home in Regina. "It's certainly not going to bring back my son.

"I would say it's like if I hit you in the head and you fell and died. It would be a manslaughter charge. It's a bit severe, but ... I guess in this case, it may be necessary."

Walsh added he sympathized with Fraser and his heart went out to the soldier's family.

"He and his family … are grieving now and in very, very much pain."
Another shooting investigated

The charges suggest there was no intent but there was negligence concerning Fraser's alleged role in the shooting, the CBC's Carolyn Dunn reported.

The charges come as the military is probing another mysterious shooting that claimed the life of a soldier at Kandahar airfield last week.

Cpl. Kevin Megeney, 25, a reservist from Stellarton, N.S., died Tuesday evening. He was a member of the 1st Battalion Nova Scotia Highlanders. Megeney's family told CBC News he had been shot in the chest while in his tent.

The NIS is an independent military police unit with a mandate to investigate serious and sensitive matters in relation to national defence property, employees and Canadian Forces personnel serving in Canada and abroad.

Walsh's father also said he hoped to attend some of the court proceedings in Shilo.

"I just hope the young soldier has a good defence and is well represented," he said.

Man I'd hate to even begin to think of what MCpl Fraser is feeling right now, it must have been hard enough waiting this long for charges to be layed and dealing with what had happened.
 

pardus

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Unless there was intent I dont think a soldier should be charged with manslaughter.
Discharge him, strip his rank, whatever but criminal charges? NO :2c:
 

RackMaster

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Update on Story

Soldier's widow angry over charges against friend

The widow of a Canadian soldier, who died when a weapon discharged during a routine patrol in Afghanistan last year, is upset that her husband's friend and fellow comrade has been charged in his death.

"I've been irate at the fact that they've even considered manslaughter as one of the charges," Julie Mason told CBC News on Tuesday.


Mason's husband, Master Cpl. Jeffrey Scott Walsh, died in Kandahar on Aug. 9.

It has been reported that he was seated beside the driver of a G-wagon when another soldier's gun discharged from inside the jeep, killing Walsh with a single bullet.

On Monday, the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service charged Walsh's friend and comrade Master Cpl. Robbie Fraser, based in Shilo with 2nd Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry regiment, with one count of manslaughter and one count of negligent performance of duty.

Mason said she doesn't agree with the charges.

"I hope we can change this," she said.

"It's painful enough when a soldier loses a brother," she said. "It's even harder when you lose a friend and it's your weapon that went off."


Mason said she met with Fraser on Monday. She said she let him know "it's not his fault" and she told him she's there to help him as much as she can.

Earlier this month, another Canadian soldier died in a shooting in his tent on the base in Kandahar. The military has said little about Cpl. Kevin Megeney's death, other than that it did not involve enemy fire.

It's good to see the widow is understanding of the situation.

Sounds to me like the NIS are just out to hang someone and make themselves "look good". :bleh:
 

pardus

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Really sounds like some prosecutor/officer is trying to get some publicity, promotion boards coming up?
Its disgusting.
 

Totentanz

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Charges dropped...

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/serv.../BNStory/Afghanistan/home?cid=al_gam_mostview

OLIVER MOORE

Globe and Mail Update

October 14, 2008 at 1:01 PM EDT

Manslaughter and negligence charges were abruptly dropped Tuesday at the court-martial of an infantryman whose rifle killed a fellow soldier two years ago in Afghanistan.

The news came as a complete surprise to Master Corporal Robbie Fraser's relatives, who had recently bemoaned the lengthening pall of uncertainty hanging over the family.

MCpl Fraser had never spoken publicly about what caused the fatal shooting in a jeep-like vehicle bouncing along near Kandahar. But it emerged Tuesday that he had told investigators he hadn't been holding the C7 rifle when it went off, and his lawyer said tests confirmed that his hands bore no gunshot residue.

Master Corporal Jeffrey Walsh, a friend of the accused soldier, was killed by the single shot.

Defence lawyer Lieutenant-Colonel Troy Sweet said in a telephone interview from CFB Shilo that his client's rifle had been resting under a heavier weapon, a C6 machine gun. MCpl Fraser had engaged the safety of his weapon, as required, but the motion of the vehicle caused the heavier weapon to disengage the safety and fire the rifle.

Scratches on the lighter weapon show the sequence of events, said Col. Sweet, who criticized the military's handling of the case.

“The investigation wasn't as thorough as we thought it could be,” he said.

“It's a tremendous burden to carry for an extended time,” he added. “This portion is over for the Fraser family but it's still going on for the Walsh family.”

The Walsh family has also criticized the pace of the investigation and the decision to lay such serious charges.

MCpl Fraser, who has continued to serve with the 2nd Battalion of the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry, was huddled with his immediate family after the decision and did not want to speak publicly.

But his father expressed surprise and joy.

“It was very good news this morning,” Kevin Fraser said. “I wasn't expecting it.”

In fact, the family had put on hold plans to travel from their native Prince Edward Island to Manitoba on the assumption that the first part of the court martial would be taken up with dry procedural matters.

“It's a lot of stress lifted off everybody,” Mr. Fraser said. “It's closure now, we can put it behind us now. I'm just surprised it took two years.”
 
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