Statement by Hilary Meredith, CEO, Hilary Meredith Solicitors
Asked about the plight of soldiers who have had allegations hanging over them for years, a No 10 spokesperson has today said:
“The PM would agree that where there are credible allegations of criminality it is right that they are investigated properly.”
The spokesman insisted that ihat was independent and said anyone from the forces involved would receive support, including legal advice.
Jonny Mercer MP, a former solder, said:
“This is definitely not the case. Regrettable to come from No 10.”
We agree with Jonny Mercer. It is a statement of the obvious that credible allegations of criminality should be investigated properly. However, No 10’s assertion that soldiers are receiving support is simply wrong.
As has been widely reported, we are representing a decorated major who faces prosecution for manslaughter over the death of an Iraqi teenager 13 years ago.
The decision by the Ihat to consider charges comes despite a military investigation as long ago as 2006 that cleared him (and two others) of wrongdoing.
MPs have recently heard investigators are turning up on family doorsteps and at barracks gates demanding information or threatening arrest.
In one harrowing incident they appeared at an ex-girlfriend’s house and interviewed her on whether her former partner had tattoos, was abusive or talked in his sleep. In another they turned up at a barracks and threatened to arrest an officer despite the fact he was acquitted by an internal probe 10 years before. Even witnesses have been threatened with arrest as the probe into alleged Iraq War wrongdoing has got completely out of hand.
The Ministry of Defence should be standing behind all our brave servicemen and women put in this situation – with a framework of support and assistance.
Having consulted with veterans, we believe they should be guaranteed the following:
- 1 – The right to a framework of help and support for serving and ex-military personnel to include, Chain of Command, welfare and medical support.
- 2 – The right to independent legal advice.
- 3 – The right for funding for such advice.
- 4 – The right to a fair trial.
5 – Time limits be imposed on these cases.
6 – The rights promised to military personnel under the military covenant to be upheld.