Jailed Royal Marine Alex Blackman, jailed in 2013 for killing a Taliban fighter, will learn today whether he will spend Christmas at home with his family as the court hears a bail application.
While the Royal Courts of Justice will hear the full appeal against the Marine’s murder conviction in Summer 2017, his supporters are hoping Sergeant Alexander Blackman will be released from prison on bail prior to the re-trial at a hearing today. While the court is set to sit at 14:00 on Friday, supporters of so-called ‘Marine A’, who will not be present and remains in prison in Wiltshire, started arriving outside the Royal Courts of Justice on the Strand in the morning.
The Telegraph newspaper reports Sergeant Blackman’s wife said if he were to be released on bail today it would be “the best Christmas ever” and remarked she was “cautiously optimistic” this would be the case.
Despite that, the Marine wasn’t optimistic British justice would deliver him back to his family. His wife told the paper: “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.”
Author Frederick Forsyth, Richard Drax MP, Maj Gen John Holmes, and former Marine John Davies have agreed to stand £200,000 against his bail.
The case surrounding Sergeant Alexander Blackman was triggered after footage of combat at the end of a 2011 Afghanistan tour emerged in 2012. Blackman, or Marine A as he was anonymously known during the trial, was convicted of murder in 2013 and sentenced to life in prison — but former comrades and other supporting parties have campaigned for his release, with his wife commenting at the time that he was under such pressure during the tour he was being “set up for jail” by the combat conditions.