W2W - justice for a courageous former Royal Marine

THE Royal Courts of Justice are an imposing place and nowhere more so than Court 4.

For it is here that the fate of former Royal Marine Sergeant Alexander Blackman is being decided.

If you recall, he was convicted for murder after shooting a fatally wounded insurgent in Afghanistan in 2011.

His able legal team, led by QC Jonathan Goldberg, have argued that the verdict should have been manslaughter on the grounds that Mr Blackman was suffering from combat stress at the time.

On Wednesday morning I joined his loyal and dignified wife, Claire, and other supporters, to hear whether the defence’s argument had won the day.

The case had been heard a month ago by five judges.

When Lord Chief Justice Lord Thomas made his pronouncement at 1030, the statement was so short it was almost an anti-climax.

To our relief and excitement, the panel agreed with Mr Blackman’s defence and the verdict of murder was downgraded to manslaughter due to diminished responsibility.

True to form, Claire took the news calmly, although a tear had crept on to her cheek.

Turning to her, I gave her a huge hug.

Justice had at last been served on a courageous former Royal Marine, who many feel the system had abandoned.

We understand the final hearing is next week, where the court will decide on what new sentence to impose.

Mr Goldberg will argue strongly that Mr Blackman should be released immediately, taking into account the three and a half years he’s already served in prison.

Following the case this week, we all walked out into the spring sunshine to face the waiting press.

It was a wonderful moment for all of us, and in particular Alexander Blackman, a man who’s no longer alone and who hopefully will soon be free.