Court of Appeal takes 'unprecedented' step to review jailed SAS soldier Danny Nightingale's case before lawyers' request

 

Sergeant Danny Nightingale's family spoke of being overwhelmed yesterday as the Court of Appeal took the “unprecedented” step of announcing a review of his case before lawyers had even requested permission.

Just a day after Defence Secretary Philip Hammond called for an urgent review into the case of the jailed SAS soldier, his family arrived at the Royal Courts of Justice to lodge the paperwork for an appeal only to be told that a hearing had already been arranged in front of the Lord Chief Justice next week.

Shocked and tearful, Sgt Nightingale's wife Sally said: “It is totally overwhelming, very emotional. Something is actually going our way. It feels like all the way along we have had the worst case scenario and today it is the best case scenario.”

The dramatic turn of events comes after days of mounting furore and ministerial rows over the controversial case of the exemplary soldier who was given an 18-month sentence after a pistol, a gift from an Iraqi soldier he had trained that he insists he had forgotten about, was found in his quarters.

His family insist that the 37-year-old was “bullied” into a guilty plea at the court martial after being told that he could face a five year sentence if convicted but would be treated leniently if he admitted the illegal possession of a firearm and training ammunition.

Yesterday his father Humphrey reacted to the news of the appeal date: “It is unprecedented. For the Lord Chief Justice to preside over it himself and to have an appeal as quickly as this - we couldn't have asked for more.”

Simon McKay, Sgt Nightingale's solicitor, said the appeal against conviction would be made on the grounds that his guilty plea was not a genuine reflection of criminal culpability.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine