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Army Officer's Trial Concludes With Guilty Verdict

UK Trial Of Army Officer Concludes With Guilty Verdict

New Zealand Army officer Captain Jose Cooper has been found guilty of causing grievous bodily harm with intent at a court martial held in Aldershot, United Kingdom. The five-member Court Martial Board returned the verdict at 3:10pm (UK time) on 22 November 2001 after considering the evidence for two hours.

Capt Cooper had previously pleaded guilty to three additional charges of doing an act likely to prejudice service discipline, in relation to having a weapon with live ammunition while drunk, driving after drinking, and wearing improper clothes. The court will reconvene on Friday 23 November 2001 (UK time) for sentencing on all four charges.

Capt Cooper shot British Royal Marine Sergeant Lee Aston in the leg, in an incident that occurred after both had been drinking and socialising. The incident occurred on 20 August 2000, in the Bosnian town of Vitez. At the time Capt Cooper was part way through a six month posting with the NATO Stabilisation Force in Bosnia.

Major Kendall Langston says “It is expected that sentencing will be decided at some stage on Saturday (NZ time).

“This has been an unusual court martial as for the first time a New Zealand military court has travelled and convened in both the United Kingdom and Bosnia.

“The court had to travel to Bosnia, as unlike the UK, the New Zealand Government does not have an agreement with Bosnia to compel witnesses to travel to New Zealand. To have a fair trial, the court had to visit Bosnia, and the most cost-effective option was to be based at Aldershot.

“As a result of the Court Martial Board’s finding Capt Cooper guilty of the offences, his employment within the New Zealand Army will be reviewed.”


ENDS

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