Lord Chief Justice Lord John Thomas has denied Royal Marine Sergeant Alex Blackman a conditional release today, meaning he will spend Christmas in prison ahead of his case review in Summer 2017.
The ruling comes after the original decision, expected last Friday, was adjourned. Supporters of the incarcerated Marine who have campaigned for his release gathered outside the court this afternoon in hope of a positive judgement.
Speaking outside court, Marine A’s wife Claire 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.”
Lord Chief Justice John Thomas, Baron Thomas of Cwmgiedd decided that instead of releasing the Marine on bail as was permissible, he would instead bring forward the hearing of the legal review of the case from Summer to January 2017. This means although Sergeant Blackman will not walk free this year, the potential date of his being released from jail permanently may have come forwards.
Speaking of this decision, the judge said the “practice of the court is always to expedite appeals, rather than release on bail… despite the unprecedented nature of this case” he saw no reason to change from that convention.
The original story continues below:
The most senior judge in England and Wales is sitting at the Royal Courts of Justice this afternoon to consider the bail application for Royal Marine Sergeant Alex Blackman, who was jailed in 2013 over the death of a Taliban fighter in Afghanistan.
The judge had been due to rule on a bail application for the Marine last Friday, part of a legal bid to set the Marine free to spend Christmas with his family, but the decision was deferred to today. Supporters of the jailed Marine gathered outside the court this afternoon to support the Marine and his family as they await the judgement of the court.
Marine Blackman’s wife was cheered as she arrived at court and passing black-cab drivers have shown their support by sounding their horns as they drove past the courthouse in London’s Strand. Blackman, who was known in the original Trial as Marine A, is not attending the hearing and remains in prison in Wiltshire.
The application for bail and conditional release follows a ruling by the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC), who spent a year looking into the case, and decided that based on new information about Sergeant Blackman’s mental health at the time of the fatal shooting of a Taliban fighter, the decision to give him a lift sentence should be reviewed. While the case won’t be seen until Summer 2017, the ruling opened the possibility of Marine A being released on bail.
Excellent support thank you very much pic.twitter.com/cmMkmYRv56
— taximassive MM (@taximassive) December 21, 2016
Breitbart London reported last week on the comments of Mrs. Blackman, who said of the possibility of bail being granted: “This time it’s very hard for him. Particularly a lot of lads are saying ‘You are going home, you are going home’, and he’s saying ‘Hang on, it’s not a foregone conclusion’… He hasn’t wanted to jinx anything. I guess he’s thought about what he might take with him, but he’s not gone so far as to pack a bag”.
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