Crackdown long overdue

Hundreds of British soldiers who have been falsely accused of wrongdoing in foreign conflicts deserve compensation, the former head of the army has said.

Lord Richard Dannatt, writing in The Telegraph, was highly critical of the controversial Iraq Historic Allegations Team, which is investigating almost 1,500 allegations of mistreatment and unlawful killing of Iraqis.

He highlighted the case of Rachel Webster, a highly commended Army officer who was arrested and physically restrained in her own home during a dawn raid. She has since been paid compensation.

It comes as Theresa May is poised at the Conservative Party conference to unveil a crackdown on “no win, no fee” lawyers who “impugn” the name of the army.

Cracking down on “no win, no fee” is not the answer however.  Instead the Government urgently needs to crack down on legal aid where lawyers are paid – win or lose. In “no win, no fee” cases lawyers take the risk. If they don’t win they don’t get paid so they are only going to run cases they feel are genuine.

Equally, there has never been such an urgent need for the MoD to put in place in a framework of support for our servicemen and women facing allegations of wrongdoing in Iraq, Afghanistan – and for all future conflicts.

 

Hilary Meredith