Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Military Prosecutors Want Tougher Sentence for Convicted Calgary Reservist

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Military Prosecutors Want Tougher Sentence for Convicted Calgary Reservist

Article excerpt

Prosecutors file cross-appeal against reservist

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CALGARY - Prosecutors are seeking a harsher sentence for a veteran Canadian Forces reservist convicted in a deadly Afghanistan training accident.

Darryl Watts was found guilty in December of unlawfully causing bodily harm and negligent performance of military duty, but not guilty of manslaughter. He was demoted two ranks to lieutenant from major and given a severe reprimand.

Watts filed an appeal of both his sentence and conviction last month.

But the director of military prosecutions has filed a cross-appeal in the case. The prosecution had requested jail time for Watts during sentencing arguments as well as his dismissal with disgrace from the Canadian Forces.

"Yes, the Crown will be asking the Court Martial Appeal Court to substitute a greater punishment in lieu of the sentence imposed by the court martial," prosecutor Maj. Tony Tamburro confirmed in an email to The Canadian Press.

Cpl. Josh Baker, 24, died when a C-19 Claymore anti-personnel mine loaded with 700 steel balls peppered a platoon on a practice range in February 2010. 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 for safety on the range to Warrant Officer Paul Ravensdale.

Watts argued that he had never been training on the C-19 and as a result was not qualified to be in charge.

His lawyer, Balfour Der, argues the judge should have allowed the jury to consider Watts's lack of experience in the use of the C-19 in determining whether he was negligent.

"We feel there's a pretty strong argument as to why there should, at the very minimum, be a new trial based on an area of law," Der told The Canadian Press Wednesday.

He said the appeal from the prosecution wasn't a surprise and he's not worried that Watts will receive a tougher sentence. …

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