A Royal Marine imprisoned for shooting an injured Taliban fighter has won his appeal against his conviction.
Five judges announced the decision at the Court Marshall Appeal Court in London, overturning the murder conviction of Sergeant Alexander Blackman, also known as ‘Marine A’.
Sgt Blackman’s legal team had submitted fresh psychiatric evidence, claiming it proved he acted with diminished responsibility. Three distinguished psychiatrists said he was suffering a mental illness at the time of the killing, and should therefore have his murder conviction quashed and substituted for a verdict of manslaughter.
Speaking for the Crown, however, Richard Whittam QC said that although there was no evidence to the contrary of Sgt Blackman having a mental illness, the issue “did not cause what happened”.
The judges ruled in Sgt Blackman’s favour, however.
Speaking before Wednesday’s verdict, Sgt Blackman’s wife Claire told The Telegraph she and her husband were “cautiously optimistic”.
“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’.”
She added: “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.”
After the verdict, she said now hopes for a “significant reduction” in her husband’s sentence.