MoD again refuses to accept corporate responsibility

In hiding behind crown immunity, the MoD is defying the will of a Parliamentary Inquiry and flying in the face of public opinion says Hilary Meredith

The Ministry of Defence has again refused to accept corporate responsibility for deaths in training, exercises and selection events.

At today’s evidence session the Select Committee followed up various matters from the Government’s response to its report on Beyond Endurance? Military Exercises and Duty of Care.
Witnesses from the MoD included:

•    Mark Lancaster TD VR MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State
•    Air Marshal Richard Garwood CB CBE DFC RAF, Director General, Defence Safety Authority
•    Major General Timothy Hyams OBE, General Officer Commanding The Army Recruiting and Training Division
•    Isabel Letwin CBE, Director, Ministry of Defence Legal Advisers, Government Legal Department

The Beyond Endurance Inquiry was set up after the deaths of three army reservists during a training exercise on Brecon Beacons.  It recommended that the MoD should be stripped of its historic immunity from prosecution when personnel are killed during training as a result of a serious failing in its duty of care.  In its response, the MoD rejected this proposal.

Hilary Meredith, CEO at Hilary Meredith Solicitors Ltd, provided evidence to the Beyond Endurance Inquiry.  She believes the MoD’s continued refusal to accept the Inquiry’s recommendation is a “scandal”.

“The MoD is still in its Ivory Tower,” said Hilary.  “It would rather shift the blame to men and woman on the ground rather than accept corporate responsibility.

“In hiding behind crown immunity, the MoD is defying the will of a Parliamentary Inquiry and flying in the face of public opinion.  It is a scandal.

“Whilst training has to be realistic, it cannot result in death.  These are not mere accidents.  This is about a blatant disregard for life and the MoD needs to be held accountable.

“Removing crown immunity would push the MoD to improve its standards and ultimately save lives.  If the MoD think that deaths in training improve safety on the battlefield they are gravely mistaken. Most training deaths are caused by poor procedures which come from the top.  Nothing will never change until proper sanctions are put in place.  Severe fines would focus the mind of the MoD and help to save lives.”