Three Royal Marines deny murdering Afghan national
THREE Royal Marines have pleaded not guilty to murdering an Afghan national.
The men, known only as Marines A, B and C, appeared at the Military Court Centre in Bulford, Wiltshire, yesterday where they entered their pleas from behind a screen amid tight security.
The men denied the allegation under Section 42 of the Armed Forces Act 2006 that on or about September 15, 2011 they murdered the captured person while on patrol in Afghanistan.
David Perry QC, prosecuting, said the core of the prosecution case would be video footage.
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The court was told that no body would comprise part of the evidence.
Judge Advocate General Jeff Blackett set a two-day pre-trial review hearing to start on August 5 with a trial due to last three to four weeks to commence on October 21.
All three marines were granted bail.
Two further marines, known as D and E, have been told that the murder charges against them have been dropped.
But an anonymity order, granted last year to protect the identities of the five by Judge Advocate General Blackett, remains "in full force in respect of all five" marines until further notice.
Making the ruling last November, the judge said the defendants would be at "real and immediate risk" from "organised terrorist activity and "lone wolves", if their names were made public.
The marines were charged with murder following the incident believed to have occurred on September 15 last year.
At that time the marines were on operational tour in the country with Stonehouse-based 3 Commando Brigade.
Arrests were made after video footage relating to the incident was found on a serviceman's laptop.