21 Dec 16. Murder appeal ex-marine Alexander Blackman refused bail. Ex-Royal Marine Alexander Blackman, who is serving life for the murder of an Afghan fighter, has been refused bail ahead of an appeal. He was sentenced to life by a court martial in 2013 and had an appeal dismissed in 2014. But the case of the 42-year-old from Taunton is due to be heard by the Court Martial Appeal Court for a second time next year. On Wednesday, his request to be bailed until the hearing was refused. Blackman, known as Marine A, watched the court proceedings in London via video link from jail. His wife, Claire, was in the courtroom along with a number of his supporters.
Speaking outside the court after the ruling, Mrs Blackman said: “We are obviously disappointed by the judges’ decision not to grant bail this afternoon.
“However we must remember that earlier this month the Criminal Cases Review Commission decided to refer the case back to the Appeal Courts and this is the most important step towards getting Al’s conviction and sentence overturned.
“We are grateful to the courts for expediting the appeal process.”
In a BBC interview earlier this month, Mrs Blackman said she hoped her husband would be home for Christmas, saying it would be “the icing on the cake”.
Shot at close range
The killing, on 15 September 2011, took place after a patrol base in Helmand province came under fire from two insurgents.
One of the attackers was seriously injured by gunfire from an Apache helicopter sent to provide air support, and the marines found him in a field. Footage from a helmet-mounted camera of another marine in his unit showed Blackman shooting the Afghan prisoner in the chest at close range with a 9mm pistol. Blackman was convicted of murder in November 2013 and jailed for life. He lost an appeal in May of the following year, but his 10-year minimum term was reduced to eight years. On 6 December this year, he secured a second appeal after the presentation of new evidence relating to his mental health at the time of the murder. BBC News correspondent Daniel Boettcher, who was at the two-hour hearing, said: “What today was about was simply this decision as to whether he should be granted bail ahead of that fresh appeal hearing and the two judges have decided that he should not.” (Source: BBC)
BATTLESPACE Comment: Just prolonging Sgt. Blackman and his family’s anguish, this is a disgrace. Readers will remember when Tony Blair let IRA killers out on bail over Christmas!
22 Dec 16. The stoical dignity of a man who’s endured far too much: Robert Harman sees barely a flicker of emotion as Sergeant Blackman learns he won’t be going home for Christmas.
Goaded beyond what many of us would regard as reasonable endurance yet again, the stoical, solitary rugby-shirted figure on the closed-circuit television screen barely registered a flicker of emotion. Sergeant Al Blackman of the Royal Marines would not be going home for Christmas after all.
His 2013 conviction for the murder of a Taliban terrorist might have more holes than a Helmand Province road sign – and has recently been referred back to the Court of Appeal thanks, in large part, to the generosity of Daily Mail readers.
But yesterday afternoon, his application for bail was rejected in the High Court, despite the highly unusual fact that there were no objections — or even conditions — from the prosecution. What’s more, a queue of distinguished public figures and former military top brass were lining up to pay a surety of £50,000 each on his behalf.
No dice. Sergeant Blackman, or ‘Marine A’ as he used to be known, must spend a fourth Christmas behind bars, separated from his devoted wife, Claire.
This was not what a large contingent of former Royal Marines inside and outside the court had wanted to hear. Many had come here last week to hear Sgt Blackman’ s first bail application heard and then rejected.
They’d returned yesterday in the full expectation of better news.
Ditto, the fleets of t