A directions hearing convened by the Registrar of Military Justice in relation to the charges against the third Australian Defence Force member relating to an incident in Afghanistan on 12 February, 2009 was conducted, by telephone, on 29 August 2011.
The Director of Military Prosecutions applied formally to withdraw the charges before the Judge Advocate. The Judge Advocate ordered that the charge sheet be withdrawn.
The legal processes as a result of the charges brought by the Director of Military Prosecutions in relation to the 12 February 2009 civilian casualty incident, involving the three ADF members, have now concluded.
“Defence was committed to ensuring a proper legal process was observed throughout this matter so that the individuals charged received a fair trial and that the integrity of the military legal process was preserved,” said the Chief of the Defence Force, General David Hurley.
“The legal processes that were adhered to in relation to this matter were independent of the chain of command.
“The Australian Defence Force has a reputation for being a highly disciplined and professional force. In order to maintain this reputation, it is important that all incidents leading to a civilian casualty are investigated thoroughly, comprehensively and transparently.”
On 12 February 2009, members of the Special Operations Task Group, conducted a compound clearance in Uruzgan Province, Afghanistan. Tragically, six Afghans died and four sustained injuries during the operation.
The operation was the subject of an investigation which led to the Director of Military Prosecutions charging three Australian Defence Force personnel with alleged services offences. The Director of Military Prosecutions subsequently referred these charges for trial by general courts martial.
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