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Major found not guilty of manslaughter in training death
Published Tuesday, December 4, 2012 12:25PM MST
Last Updated Tuesday, December 4, 2012 6:30PM MST
A Calgary reservist has been found not guilty of manslaughter in the death of another soldier during a training exercise in Afghanistan.
Major Darryl Watts was charged with manslaughter, negligent performance of a military duty, unlawfully causing bodily harm, and breach of duty.
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.
Baker died and the other soldiers were injured when a Claymore mine exploded, peppering their platoon with 700 steel balls.
The jury of five military officers decided that Watts was not guilty of manslaughter and two counts of breach of duty but he was found guilty of two counts of negligent performance of duty and unlawfully causing bodily harm.
The 44-year-old reservist who is also a Calgary firefighter hugged his wife after the decision was read.
Afghanistan was the first Canadian Forces overseas deployment for Major Watts.
There are no minimum sentences for any of the charges Major Watts faced 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.
Calgary reservist Major Darryl Watts is seen depicted in a court illustration during his court martial trial at the Mewata Armoury.