Calgary reservist avoids jail time
Published Wednesday, February 20, 2013 6:31AM MST
Last Updated Wednesday, February 20, 2013 6:18PM MST
Canadian Forces reservist Maj. Darryl Watts won't serve jail time for his role in a deadly 2010 training accident in Afghanistan.
Cpl. Josh Baker, 24, died when an anti-personnel mine loaded with 700 steel balls peppered a platoon on a practice range three years ago. Four other soldiers hit by the blast were seriously injured.
The prosecution argued during the trial that Watts, who was the platoon commander, didn't enforce safety standards and abdicated his duty as leader when he handed over responsibility to Warrant Officer Paul Ravensdale.
The defence suggested Watts's blame worthiness was on the low end of the scale, since no one could have predicted what his lawyer called a "freak accident."
"He should only receive a very minimum sentence ... a reprimand," defence lawyer Balfour Der said after a sentencing hearing last month.
"Maj. Watts was found guilty, but it's as marginal as it can be," he added.
Watts is being demoted by two ranks to lieutenant and is to receive a severe reprimand.
Ravensdale, who has since retired, was convicted last week of unlawfully causing bodily harm, two counts of breach of duty and one count of negligent performance of military duty. He has yet to be sentenced.
Watts's commanding officer, Maj. Christopher Lunney, pleaded guilty in September to negligent performance of duty, was demoted to captain and given a severe reprimand.
Watt's has been a member of the Calgary Fire Department for the past 11 years.
The department released a statement following the sentencing saying:
"Darryl has been a well-respected member of the Calgary Fire Department for more than 11 years and has an exemplary performance record. As a result, he will be allowed to continue to serve as a firefighter on the Department."
(With files from CTVNews.ca)