Medical discharge for former Army sniper Danny Nightingale

 

An SAS sniper facing a retrial on gun charges is to be medically discharged from the Army, it was confirmed today.

The Army had agreed that Sergeant Danny Nightingale can be medically discharged, his lawyer Simon McKay said. It is understood that Sgt Nightingale's last week with the Army will be in February of next year.

The move comes after Sgt Nightingale, from Crewe, Cheshire, was recommended for medical discharge by the medical board of the British Army because of serious brain damage caused after a collapse in the Amazon jungle in 2009.

Mr McKay said: "I am happy to confirm that he has received confirmation from the Army personnel centre that he is to be medically discharged from the Army."

Sgt Nightingale, 38, is due to face a retrial in July over the alleged illegal possession of a pistol and ammunition after a previous conviction was quashed by Court of Appeal judges.

It is understood that a further request will be made by Sgt Nightingale's lawyers to the Service Prosecuting Authority asking them to reconsider whether it is in the public interest to hold a retrial in the light of his medical discharge.

Sgt Nightingale has said he is "devastated' that his SAS service is coming to an end, but recognised the brain damage he suffered in 2009 meant he could no longer carry out his normal duties.

The father-of-two, who last month pleaded not guilty to the two charges, has argued that the pistol and ammunition were brought back to the UK from Iraq by colleagues, after he had to return at short notice with the bodies of two fellow soldiers.

Judge Advocate Jeff Blackett told Bulford Military Court in Wiltshire there was no abuse of process relating to secret emails concerning the case apparently leaked by a Ministry of Defence source.

Mr McKay told the court the messages - leaked, he said, by an MoD whistleblower - appeared to show the director of service prosecutions consulting the military chain of command on whether to pursue the case against Sgt Nightingale.

Prosecutors said there was nothing improper with the conduct alleged in the email.

It is understood that a further request will be made by Sgt Nightingale's lawyers to the Service Prosecuting Authority asking them to reconsider whether it is in the public interest to hold a retrial in the light of his medical discharge.

Sgt Nightingale has said he is "devastated' that his SAS service is coming to an end, but recognised the brain damage he suffered in 2009 meant he could no longer carry out his normal duties.

The father-of-two, who last month pleaded not guilty to the two charges, has argued that the pistol and ammunition were brought back to the UK from Iraq by colleagues, after he had to return at short notice with the bodies of two fellow soldiers.

Judge Advocate Jeff Blackett told Bulford Military Court in Wiltshire there was no abuse of process relating to secret emails concerning the case apparently leaked by a Ministry of Defence source.

Mr McKay told the court the messages - leaked, he said, by an MoD whistleblower - appeared to show the director of service prosecutions consulting the military chain of command on whether to pursue the case against Sgt Nightingale.

Prosecutors said there was nothing improper with the conduct alleged in the email.

Sally Nightingale, Sgt Nightingale's wife, said she was bitterly disappointed by the decision to proceed with a retrial.

Commenting today on the confirmation of his medical discharge, said: "It is sad that his career will end in the military because he has loved his job but it is an opportunity now to move forward and try to put the last couple of years behind us."

PA

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