Liberty calls for civilian police to investigate all military crimes after Coroner delivers highly critical verdict in Private Sean Benton inquest

18 July 2018

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Deepcut barracks deaths: Coroner to deliver verdict in Private Sean Benton inquest 23 years after his death

17 July 2018

A Coroner will tomorrow deliver his verdict in a fresh inquest into the death of young army recruit Private Sean Benton, who was found dead at Deepcut barracks in 1995.

His Honour Judge Peter Rook QC will set out his conclusions at Woking Coroner’s Court from 11am. The wide-ranging investigation – which began in January – has considered how Sean died and the wider environment in which he lived at the Surrey camp, and heard evidence from 168 witnesses.

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“Neither efficient, effective or fair” - where can soldiers turn when things go wrong?

In January, the Armed Forces released a new recruitment campaign designed to show their human side. Soldiers talked about how they feel comfortable in the Army regardless of their gender, religion, sexuality or emotions.

It’s good to see the military attempting to clean up their reputation for having a tough, toxic culture – but in the past it’s been difficult to see if the public rhetoric is matched by real change for real soldiers.

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Our soldiers deserve first-rate justice

The UK has two separate justice systems – one for soldiers, and one for the rest of us. Yesterday, an important criminal case being heard in the court martial – kept out of the public eye by reporting restrictions until now – collapsed. And it exposes everything that’s wrong with this second class system.

This was a criminal trial involving allegations that a number training instructors at the Army Foundation College in Harrogate had committed very serious assaults on children who had signed up as junior recruits.

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Two decades after Sean Benton died, let's hope 2018 brings the answers his family deserve

For Sean’s family, for those who served at Deepcut barracks, for everyone who wants people who fight for their country to be treated with the respect they deserve, we hope the new Coroner can finally uncover the truth about what happened to Sean Benton.

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Government to scrap archaic loophole that lets Armed Forces Commanding Officers investigate sexual assaults themselves

13 December 2017

The Government has quietly announced a major change to the law that will stop Commanding Officers in the Armed Forces investigating soldiers’ allegations of sexual assault themselves – but they still won’t have to refer complaints to civilian police.

The proposed changes to the Armed Forces Act 2006 come after years of campaigning by soldiers, bereaved families and Liberty – and after Liberty threatened the Ministry of Defence (MoD) with legal action on behalf of a serving soldier if it failed to close the loophole.

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Sean Benton's case exposes Government plans to abandon human rights as nakedly self-serving

Today is a momentous day for the family of Private Sean Benton, who died at Deepcut barracks in 1995.

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Royal Military Police formally apologises to family of late Corporal Anne-Marie Ellement for failing to properly investigate her allegation of rape

19 October 2016

The Royal Military Police (RMP) has formally apologised to the family of Corporal Anne-Marie Ellement for failing to properly investigate the allegation of rape she made two years before taking her own life, following the threat of legal action by the family.

In a statement released today, the RMP – the Army’s internal police force – admits that “mistakes were made” in the investigation and that “Anne-Marie deserved better”.

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Attorney General grants permission for fresh Deepcut inquest application

25 March 2014

Today the Attorney General gave consent for Liberty, acting on behalf of the family of Cheryl James, to apply to the High Court for a new inquest into her death. Cheryl, 18, was undergoing initial training at Deepcut Barracks in 1995 when she was found dead with a bullet wound between her right eye and the bridge of her nose.

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MoD failure to release documents further delays investigation into soldier’s death

24 February 2014

Today a three-week inquest into the death of Corporal Anne-Marie Ellement, who killed herself in 2011, hit further delays.  Just two days before the verdict was due, the MOD admitted it had failed to disclose potentially relevant documentation to the Coroner and Anne- Marie’s sisters. 

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