Plymouth murder charge Royal Marines are due in court today
FIVE Royal Marines are due to appear in court today charged with the murder of an Afghan national.
A preliminary and custody hearing will be held at 1pm before the Judge Advocate General, His Honour Judge Blackett, at Colchester Military Court Centre.
The five are facing a charge of "committing a criminal offence contrary to section 42 of the Armed Forces Act 2006, namely murder".
It is alleged that on, or about, September 15 2011, the commandos murdered an unknown Afghan national.
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It follows news, revealed by The Herald last week, that the five appeared behind closed doors in Bulford Military Court Centre on Monday October 15.
The judge advocate, Judge Elsom, made an order prohibiting the identification of the commandos on the grounds there was a "real and immediate risk to their lives". During the hearing the judge also granted a custody application to keep the men remanded until today.
All of the marines, who were serving with 3 Commando Brigade whose headquarters are in Stonehouse, were due to appear at today's hearing.
The case will be a public hearing but the court may have to go into priate chambers.
The Judge Advocate General will today review the decision to remand the marines in custody and deal with any other matters including the anonymity order.
The arrests were made after footage was discovered on a serviceman's laptop after he was arrested for a separate civilian matter. Four further commandos were arrested following the allegations but released without charge pending further enquiries.
The Herald's defence reporter Rebecca Ricks is one of the few journalists allowed into today's hearing. See tomorrow's Herald for her reports from Colchester.