Charges laid against comrade of fallen soldier

Lisa

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Master Cpl. Jeffrey Scott Walsh, died in Kandahar on Aug. 9. It has been reported that he was seated beside the driver of a G-wagon when another soldier's gun discharged from inside the jeep, killing Walsh with a single bullet.


On Monday, the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service charged Walsh's friend and comrade Master Cpl. Robbie Fraser, based in Shilo with 2nd Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry regiment, with one count of manslaughter and one count of negligent performance of duty.

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Who here feels, as the widow of the fallen soldier does, that this man has probably suffered enough for what has happened. Or do you believe that he should be charged with man slaughter?
 

JBrainard

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Considering how horrible (and traumatized, really) the guy must feel, I think that these charges are just adding insult to injury. God, I feel sorry for the dude. This is totally screwed up.
 

jdinca

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Nothing like piling on. The guys already mentally and emotionally scarred for life.
 
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Lisa

Lisa

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"negligent performance of his duty" I would really like to know exactly what that means. Man slaughter is another story. The wife of the fallen soldier doesn't want these charges laid. It is adding to her pain as well.
 

exile

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Judicial punishment is supposed to be a means to an end. And in this case, it's hard for me to see just what end is being served by punishing this guy. A deterrent to others' others' carelessness? But there is bound a certain amount of failure to focus attention under the grueling conditions of warfare, and it's not clear just what else might have been going on to cause what may well have been a momentary lapse of attention that just happened to be horrifically mistimed. I can't imagine that throwing the book at this guy will make others over there one bit more careful than they already are—those kinds of lapses are going to happen. Revenge? Who would want revenge in this situation? On whose behalf? The victim's widow certainly doesn't....

I just don't see what good purpose could possibly be served by this prosecution. And even for someone who thinks punishment is the appropriate response here, the guy's state of mind is probably the worst possible punishment imaginable. What good will anything further do?
 

grydth

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Let me be the respectful dissenter here.

The widow is not the only party that has moral and legal standing to prosecute. The nation of Canada has lost a soldier and has right to seek redress in a courts-martial.

What if the widow hated the accused? Are you all seriously contending that accused shooters,on similar fact patterns, should be treated this radically differently under law because of that?

What if the decedent was a single man - is his life worth less punishment under the law? Or more? What if the widow is forgiving but the children are not and the parents are split? What legal road are you taking us down? Are not relatives' feelings more appropriately considered on sentencing rather than on guilt or innocence?

I see no description of how this shooting happened. Am I the only one here who thinks that is important?

Don't any of you see a major difference between a gun accidentally dropped under fire and a killing which occurs when guns are being played with? The widow asserts the shooter is not at fault - really? Did the gun hop down and shoot the man itself? A human did it - we need to know how and why.

How do any of you know the accused's feelings about the killing? You assume he feels terrible - but what if he doesn't? What if he's cool or sociopathic - try only him because of insufficient tears?

Folks, I saw many, many court-martials. it is seldom as easy and as simple as the media tells you.
 

jetboatdeath

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Manslaughter is kind of steep I think. But the other charge negligent performance of duty I can see. I was in the first gulf war in a war zone and I speak only of the U.S. Army but, he was negligent. We were required to clear the weapon before entering any vehicle. The weapon was also always to be on safe before entering any vehicle. To me and any other responsible gun owner I believe this is a good “rule”. Entering a vehicle with a round in the chamber on a bumpy desert road, not a good idea. And even though a soldier tragically lost his life this man deserves the court martial.
 

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Let me be the respectful dissenter here.
I think that I'll join you.

According to this source, Manslaughter is defined in Canadian Law as follows:

Manslaughter Accidental homicide or homicide which occurs without an intent to kill, and which does not occur during the commission of another crime or under extreme provocation.
So it seems as though this event certainly fits the definition. According to this article, "another soldier's gun went off", killing Walsh. So, it seems that, though there may have been no intent, and completely accidental, the soldier charged is responsible for Walsh's death, and should be held to account, IMO. The law must apply equally to all citizens, irrespective of the individual circumstances.
As per the same article quoted above, it seems that the deceased's father is in agreement:
Walsh's Father said:
I would say it's like if I hit you in the head and you fell and died. It would be a manslaughter charge. It's a bit severe, but ... I guess in this case, it may be necessary.
Now, I don't agree with his comparison - in a circumstance where one hits another in the head, there is still intent to do harm, and that's not the case here. However, it is the result of negligent care of his firearm, and for that, there need be consequences.

It is totally unfortunate that the accused and the deceased were friends, and that the entire thing was accidental. But, I ask, how would the accused feel if someone accidentally shot his wife? Or child? I'm reasonably certain that he'll accept these charges as being appropriate, and only hope that the presiding judge will exercise some compassion and discretion when it comes time for sentencing.
 
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