Sgt Nightingale re-trial – Defence case is that weapon and ammunition were...

Sgt Nightingale re-trial – Defence case is that weapon and ammunition were planted


Sgt Danny Nightingale’s Court Martial retrial began yesterday.

The background to the case is here – in short, he pleaded guilty to possession of a firearm and ammunition. He received an 18 month sentence. He appealed sentence and was given a suspended sentence. He appeal his conviction on the basis that his plea was equivocal and the Court Martial Appeal Court quashed his conviction.

So, the re-trial began. For a while, we have been wondering what his defence might be.

Today, courtesy of the Guardian, we have learned that Nightingale is now denying possession  – which would of course be a complete defence. It is suggested that Nightingale’s case is that the items could have been planted and as such, he had no knowledge and so could not be guilty.

The Guardian reported:

“Sergeant Danny Nightingale originally claimed the weapon had been brought back to the UK as a trophy from Iraq, where he had been serving, it was claimed.

But Nightingale was now apparently claiming that the weapon and ammunition may have been planted by somebody else, the court martial heard. He denies possession of the pistol and the ammunition.”

The prosecution invited the board (the jury in a Court Martial) to ask themselves “If the gun and ammunition belonged to someone else how did the defendant miss it?” and “Is this claim of memory loss the truth or a lie told to try and avoid the consequences of the truth?”

The trial continues and we will endeavour to keep you up to date with the developments.

Lyndon is the General Editor of Current Sentencing Practice and the Criminal Appeal Reports (Sentencing)