Soldier’s mother’s victory on son’s death in Iraq

This video from Britain says about itself:

Dani Hamilton, whose 18 year old son is serving in Iraq made this speech calling for the troops to be brought home. Dani is a member of Military Families Against the War.

From British daily The Independent:

Victory for soldier‘s mother in vehicle inquiry bid

By Mike Taylor, Press Association

Friday, 10 July 2009

The mother of a soldier killed in a Snatch Land Rover in Iraq has won the first round of a legal battle over an investigation into the vehicles.

Susan Smith wants to force the Government to rethink its decision not to hold a public inquiry into the use of the controversial lightly-armoured vehicles in major conflict situations.

Mrs Smith, of Tamworth, Staffordshire, was given permission to seek a High Court judicial review relating to past use of the vehicles in Iraq and Afghanistan.

But Mr Justice Mitting refused her leave to challenge a Ministry of Defence decision not to hold an inquiry into present and future deployment of Snatch Land Rovers – a decision he described as “unimpeachable” in the courts.

Mrs Smith’s 21-year-old son Phillip Hewett, a private in the 1st Battalion Staffordshire Regiment, died on July 16 2005, in the Al Amarah region of Iraq in a roadside bomb attack on a patrol of three armoured Snatch Land Rovers.

Two other soldiers died in the incident. Pte Hewett, who was driving, died of his wounds at the scene while being given first aid by members of the patrol.

The Snatch was originally designed as a cheap and quick way of transporting troops in Northern Ireland. It has been heavily criticised for failing to protect against roadside bombs following a series of deaths, around 38 in all, in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Mr Justice Mitting said today that if a full inquiry was eventually held into past deployment, three issues could be investigated:

* Should different equipment, such as the more heavily armoured Cougar Mastiff, have been procured and deployed in 2005 and 2006.

* If so, could the deaths of some or all of the soldiers have been avoided.

* If so, why was that equipment not procured and deployed.

Mrs Smith, whose case is supported by the families of other soldiers killed in similar incidents, said after the ruling: “I am delighted.”

She added: “It is only the first stage, but I am just glad that someone is listening.

“It isn’t just me. You have got three other families here who have lost their sons, all in similar circumstances.”

MoD lawyers had argued that the inquest held into Pte Hewett’s death was an adequate investigation.

But the judge said it was common ground that inquests, restricted to the details of an individual death, were not capable of addressing “systemic issues which give rise to public concern”.

Mrs Smith is among at least four families who, in separate proceedings, are seeking damages against the MoD over Snatch vehicle deaths.

The claims are being brought for negligence and under Article 2 – “right to life” – of the European Convention on Human Rights on the basis that the MoD failed to provide reasonable protection to save the soldiers’ lives. They are on hold pending the outcome of the judicial review proceedings.

It is argued that the MoD knew years before the Iraq war began in 2003 that the Snatch was out of date and there was a gaping hole in its armoured vehicle capability because of a lack of medium-weight armoured vehicles.

See also here.

Eight British soldiers killed in bloodiest day of Afghan mission: here.

Soldier killed in Afghanistan as MoD criticised over idle armoured vehicles: here.

4 thoughts on “Soldier’s mother’s victory on son’s death in Iraq

  1. Mother of British soldier killed in Afghanistan accuses politicians of ‘feathering their own nests’

    The mother of a British soldier killed in Afghanistan has called on politicians to stop “feathering their own nests” and concentrate on making sure troops have the best equipment possible.

    By Aislinn Simpson
    Published: 7:00AM BST 17 Jul 2009

    Caroline Munday, 49, broke down in tears at her son’s inquest in Leamington Spa as she spoke of the “hellish” conditions service personnel are facing in Afghanistan.

    Trooper James Munday, 21, was just two weeks from ending his tour of duty when he was killed and two of his colleagues were injured in a bomb explosion while on routine patrol in Helmand province in October last year.

    A member of the Household Cavalry’s D Squadron, who served with both Princes William and Harry, he was driving a Jackal vehicle to the north of Garmsir when it hit an improvised explosive device.

    The Jackal was sent into battle last summer following a debacle over the flimsy Snatch Land Rover, which was implicated in 37 deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    But critics have raised concerns about its safety too, saying it should only be used as was intended – for Special Forces off-road missions – rather than in general patrols.

    Tpr Munday’s vehicle was one of six travelling through a populated area 14 miles north of the British base Delhi when the blast hit on October 15.

    Warrant Officer Mark Hatton, of the Army’s special investigation branch, told the inquest the Jackal Tpr Munday had been driving was not faulty.

    “The IED was carrying between 15 and 20kg of homemade explosive which was detonated by a pressure plate when the vehicle drove over it,” he said.

    “It was a significant amount of explosive. The Jackal did have protection underneath.

    “James did have all the right protection which unfortunately didn’t save him.”

    Mrs Munday said: “I hope our Government will stop feathering its own nest and provide our guys with the best equipment they can because they deserve it.

    “I am so glad the other two soldiers survived. God bless all our soldiers.”

    Sgt Paul Hill, 34, was in the passenger seat of Tpr Munday’s vehicle and suffered a smashed ankle, seven breaks in his shoulder and broken ribs during the explosion.


  2. Pingback: Fallen soldier’s father calls Blair war criminal | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  3. Pingback: British military press officer sick of lies on Iraq | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  4. Pingback: No impunity for Blair’s Iraq war, dead soldier’s parents say | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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