Goldsmith refers soldier's case to CPS

The Crown Prosecution Service is to consider whether a British soldier accused of killing an Iraqi civilian should face criminal charges.

The office of Lord Goldsmith, the Attorney General, confirmed in a statement last night that he had referred the case to the CPS for its views.

The case, which involved the death of an Iraqi who was being arrested, has already been investigated by the Royal Military Police and was brought to the Attorney General by the independent Army Prosecuting Authority.

It was referred to the Attorney General after charges were dismissed by the soldier's Commanding Officer. In these circumstances, the case cannot be tried by court martial.

The Army Prosecuting Authority is subject to the superintendence of the Attorney General and is independent of the military chain of command.

* A US soldier who said he left his unit in Iraq to protest an "oil-driven" war was convicted of desertion yesterday and sentenced to a year in prison.

A military jury gave the maximum sentence to Staff Sergeant Camilo Mejia, an infantry squad leader with the Florida National Guard.

He had told the jury earlier Friday that he was not sorry for refusing to return to his unit after a two-week furlough in October because he believes the war in Iraq is unjust.