Blast video shown at court martial for Calgary soldier
Published Friday, November 16, 2012 12:06PM MST
Last Updated Friday, November 16, 2012 12:36PM MST
The court martial for a Calgary reservist charged in connection with the death of one soldier and the injury of four others on a training range near Kandahar, Afghanistan continues at Mewata Armoury.
Major Darryl Watts, 44, faced a military judge and a panel of five members in Calgary on Friday charged with one count of manslaughter, two counts of breach of duty, one count of unlawfully causing bodily harm, and two counts of negligent performance of a military duty.
Major Watts is an armoured reconnaissance officer with The King’s Own Calgary Regiment and has been a member of the CF Primary Reserve since 1986. He is also a 12-year member of the Calgary Fire Department.
Major Watts held the rank of Captain and was the Officer in Charge of Practice on February 12, 2010 when a range training incident killed Corporal Joshua Baker, 24, and injured Bombadier Dan Scott, Sergeant Michael Mark McKay, Master Corporal William Pylypow and Corporal Wolfgang Brettner.
It is alleged that range safety procedures were violated in relation to the planning and execution of activities on the range that day.
On Friday, the court was shown video of the deadly blast and heard from the young soldier who took the video.
He testified that while Major Watts was the platoon's commander, he wasn't responsible for taking the troops through the drill safety. That duty fell to the Warrant Officer who also faces the same six charges as Watts.
The military says that the weapon involved was a Defensive Command Detonated Weapon C19 (DCDW C19) which is a directional, fixed fragmentation weapon.
It is used primarily for the defence of bivouac areas, outposts, and against infiltration tactics and is also effective against thin-skinned vehicles. The weapon projects a fan-shaped pattern of spherical steel fragments in a 60-degree horizontal arc covering an area of 50 metres to a height of 2 metres when detonated.
The training facility where the incident happened is located in Kan Kala Range, Afghanistan, about 4 km north of Kandahar City.
It was the first Canadian Forces overseas deployment for Major Watts.
There are no minimum sentences for the charges Major Watts faces but the maximum sentence for manslaughter and breach of duty of care reference explosive causing death is imprisonment for life.
Sentences for the other charges are as follows:
- The maximum punishment for breach of duty of care reference explosive causing bodily harm is imprisonment for a term not exceeding 14 years.
- The maximum punishment for unlawfully causing bodily harm is imprisonment for a term not exceeding 10 years.
- The maximum punishment for negligent performance of a military duty is dismissal with disgrace from Her Majesty’s service.
Warrant Officer (now retired) Paul Ravensdale also faces the same charges and another soldier, Capt. (then Maj.) Lunney pleaded guilty to negligent performance of a military duty in relation to the same incident at a court martial on September 13, 2012.
Capt. Lunney was the Officer Commanding Stabilization Company at the time of the incident and was sentenced to a reduction in rank to Captain and a severe reprimand.
Major Watts has pleaded not guilty to all of the charges against him.