Murder charge Plymouth Royal Marines' names set to be revealed
FIVE Royal Marines who have been charged with murder are expected to be named in the coming days.
It is believed a date for their trial will also be released by the Service Prosecuting Agency (SPA) – the military equivalent of the Crown Prosecution Service.
The commandos, who were serving with Stonehouse-based 3 Commando Brigade at the time of the incident in 2011, were arrested last week.
In total nine Marines have been arrested and questioned but four were earlier released without charge pending further enquiries.
A spokesperson for the Ministry of Defence said the five men remained in custody and all dealings had now been passed onto the SPA.
It is believed the Marines were arrested after video footage of an incident involving "an engagement with an insurgent" was found on a laptop during a matter being dealt with by civilian police.
During a six-month tour of duty, which lasted from April to October last year, seven servicemen from 42 Commando were killed in action.
Operation Herrick 14 was the unit's fourth tour and saw the force score notable successes in capturing explosives from the Taliban.
It is thought the arrests mark the first time any UK servicemen have been held on suspicion of such charges during the 11-year conflict.
When the case comes to trial, the Marines will appear in a military court where they will be judged by a panel of officers.
A civilian judge, known as a judge advocate, will preside over the hearing and appoint the jury, known as the board, comprising of between three and seven commissioned officers or Warrant Officers.
Following a finding or plea of guilty, the board joins the Judge Advocate to decide on sentence.
Within a Court Martial, defendants face the same sentencing levels as they would at a Crown Court, including life imprisonment.