Hilary Meredith backs call for Troops under investigation to receive more support

Armed Forces personnel who face investigations linked to overseas operations should have stronger legal rights to lawyers and mental health support, former military chiefs have told the Daily Telegraph.

Marshal Lord Stirrup and Admiral Lord Boyce, both former heads of the Armed Forces, and General Lord Dannatt, a former head of the Army, have tabled an amendment to legislation in a bid to force the Government’s hand.

The former commanders are seeking to amend the Overseas Operations Bill, which comes back to the House of Lords at committee stage next Tuesday.

The cross-bench peers are calling for a “duty of care standard” to be established for legal, pastoral, and mental health support for troops caught up in investigations and prosecutions.

The peers want to force the Government to publish data on the adequacy of current legal, welfare and mental health support services, as well as lay bare information about complaints made about troops’ ability to receive compensation from the Government.

Hilary Meredith Solicitors is acting for around 30 claimants wrongly accused and persistently investigated over a number of years with no new evidence of wrongdoing.

Commenting on developments, Hilary Meredith, Chair of Hilary Meredith Solicitors and Visiting Professor of Law and Veterans’ Affairs at the University of Chester said:

“The legal help and support offered to those who were falsely accused was next to nothing.

“In these circumstances, members of the armed forces simply ‘doing their job’ on operations overseas for their country need independent support and legal advice outside the chain of command and MoD.

“For whatever reason, core civil servants in the MoD decided these men and women were guilty, even though the claims were false.

“Alarm bells should have been ringing down Whitehall as all these falsehoods emanated from one source – solicitor Phil Shiner who we now know falsified evidence and brought vexatious claims.

“The MoD should hang its head in shame. They were either so in fear of one man or simply didn’t believe our troops who deserved so much better.

“The MoD was, without doubt, negligent in its handling of these issues. Lives have been shattered as a result.”