Army officer has arson charges dismissed as military court rules there is no case to answer
Lieutenant Tim Carpenter, who was facing charges of arson and negligence, was told by the military court sitting at Bulford, Wiltshire, that he would not have to answer charges following the closure of the prosecution’s case.
The charges were brought by the Service Prosecuting Authority (SPA), following a fire on July 22nd last year at Allenby Barracks in Bovington, Dorset.
Lieutenant Carpenter and Captain Rupert Nurick were accused of starting the fire after setting off a flare at a party that followed a Troop Leaders Father’s dinner last summer. The flare landed in a residential block, starting a fire which caused extensive damage to the building. Lt. Carpenter did not fire the flare but had passed it to the co-defendant, Cpt. Nurick, who did.
The court heard evidence from the Service Prosecuting Authority’s witnesses that the flare immediately behaved in an erratic manner after launch. Expert evidence suggested that this was due to a manufacturing defect. Evidence was also heard that previous flares that had been set off had functioned normally.
It was submitted that the evidence presented by the SPA was so insufficient that no panel could convict. The submissions were accepted by the Court and the case was dismissed.
John Hartley, criminal defence partner at Hodge Jones & Allen who successfully represented Lt. Carpenter, said: “My client and I are delighted with the sensible and practical outcome which has unfortunately taken a year to come to court. Lt. Carpenter may now continue with his career in the armed forces.”
Peter Glenser of 9 Bedford Row was Lt. Carpenter’s advocate at trial together with John Hartley.
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