29/11/2012

Convicted SAS Man In Court Appeal

An SAS soldier convicted over possession of a Glock pistol is due to have his case heard by the Court of Appeal today.

Sgt Danny Nightingale was given 18 months’ military detention for possessing the gun, which he claimed was a present he was given in Iraq.

He said he did not pack the gun and, because of a brain injury, forgot he had it.

His lawyers are expected to say the sentence is too long and will also contest the conviction in the future.

Sgt Nightingale’s wife Sally has led a high-profile campaign calling for his release.

The 37-year-old from Crewe, Cheshire, pleaded guilty earlier this month to illegally possessing the 9mm Glock pistol and ammunition.

They were discovered by West Mercia Police at his Army accommodation near Hereford.

Defence Secretary Philip Hammond had asked Attorney General Dominic Grieve to review the case, before the appeal was granted

Mr Grieve said it was "inappropriate for him to intervene".

Today’s proceedings come just a week after the appeal was lodged.

Nightingale's family say he only pleaded guilty over fears he could have faced up to five years' detention if found guilty in a trial.

His lawyers say the guilty plea was "not a true reflection of the level of criminal culpability".

A petition calling on Mr Hammond to work towards releasing the soldier has received over 100,000 signatures.

(IT/GK)

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