Photo: Spc. Angelica Golindano
AN SAS sniper jailed for possessing a war trophy given to him by the Iraqi army will learn this week whether his conviction will be quashed.Sgt Danny Nightingale received an 18-month custodial sentence last November for illegally possessing a pistol and ammunition but was released following a campaign led by The Sunday Telegraph.
The soldier will be told on Wednesday whether his appeal against the conviction will stand or be quashed, and if he will face a retrial by court martial.
The 38-year-old soldier from Crewe, Cheshire, spent three weeks in a military detention centre in Colchester, before he was released after the Court of Appeal cut the term to 12 months, saying it should be suspended. But his conviction was not overturned. Sgt Nightingale’s lawyers argued that he only pleaded guilty to possessing the Glock 9mm pistol in the belief that he would receive a non-custodial sentence and could stay in the Army.
Sgt Nightingale, who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, has maintained that he did not remember having the pistol, due to a brain injury that affected his memory. His wife Sally, pictured below with her husband, gained nationwide support in her campaign for his release, including MPs and former SAS officers.
Simon McKay, Sgt Nightingale’s lawyer, said: “If the court allows the appeal, it will need to consider whether it is in the interests of justice to order a retrial. In light of the successful appeal against sentence and Sgt Nightingale’s brain injury in 2009 I hope that the Service Prosecuting Authority decides that to pursue a retrial would not be in the public interest.”
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