Former solider acquitted of manslaughter

Tony Tamburro

Credits: Darren Makowichuk/Calgary Sun/QMI Agency


WINNIPEG - A former CFB Shilo soldier has been acquitted of manslaughter for a training exercise accident in Afghanistan that killed a fellow soldier.

A five-soldier jury panel convicted former warrant officer Paul Ravensdale of four lesser offences, including two counts of breaching his duty and one count each of unlawfully causing bodily harm and negligent performance of a duty.

The jury reached its verdict after two days of deliberations and two weeks of testimony at Shilo.

Cpl. Joshua Baker, 24, was killed and four other soldiers were injured during a live fire training exercise near Kandahar in February 2010.

Court was told Ravensdale was supervising a training exercise involving the detonation of Claymore mines and did not take the necessary precautions to ensure soldiers were out of harm's way.

"No soldier needs to die on a range," prosecutor Maj. Tony Tamburro said in an opening address to court last month.

"Accidents do happen. This was no mere accident, it was entirely foreseeable and entirely preventable."

Court heard the weapon is made up of plastic explosives and 700 steel balls that, when detonated, "project out in a fan-like pattern."

Baker was struck by four of the steel projectiles and died from a penetrating wound to the chest.

Two officers have been previously convicted in the explosion.

Maj. Christopher Lunney pleaded guilty last September to negligent performance of a military duty and two counts of breach of duty. He was demoted to the rank of captain and received a severe reprimand.

Maj. Darryl Watts stood trial on the same charges as Ravensdale. He is expected to be sentenced later this month.

Ravensdale will be sentenced March 4.

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