Investigation into death of soldier killed by friendly fire almost complete

The findings of an investigation into the death of a British soldier are expected to be released next month.

Tuesday, 30th August 2016, 2:58 pm
Updated Friday, 8th June 2018, 3:10 am
Lance Corporal James Brynin of the Intelligence Corps was killed in action in Helmand province, Afghanistan on October 15, 2013

Lance Corporal James Brynin, 22, who was born in Shoreham and lived in Pulborough, was shot and killed by friendly fire in Afghanistan in 2013.

At an inquest held in March of this year, fellow British soldier Lance Corporal of Horse Mark Kelly said he had fired the fatal shot believing his target was a Taliban insurgent.

The inquest at Chichester was adjourned by West Sussex senior coroner Penelope Schofield under Rule 25(4) of the Coroners and Justice Act 2015, which states: “a coroner must adjourn an inquest...if during the course of the inquest, it appears to the coroner that the death of the deceased is likely to have been due to a homicide offence and that a person may be charged in relation to the offence.”

The case was referred to the Service Prosecuting Authority (SPA), which is expected to publish its findings at the end of September, a pre inquest review hearing in Chichester today was told.

Nicholas Moss, counsel for the Ministry of Defence who is representing LcoH Kelly, said via a conference call: “We have been informed that the SIB (Special Investigations Branch) have themselves reviewed, as part of the victim’s right to review, and my understanding is that that particularly task has been finished.

“That means a report arriving from that and all the evidence of that and future evidence of an inquest is being considered by the SPA.

“We understand that review is going to be heard this week or next week, and that means the window when a submission decision is going to be made is over two weeks, starting from September 19.

“The prosecution authority is likely to be able to come to an outcome of the process from Monday, September 19 to Friday, September 30.

“I should mention that the binary outcome will be either to prosecute or not, and if there’s not to be a prosecution, there would be a direction explaining that by the SPA.”

Mr Moss added that it was likely to take the SPA a further week to put its decision in writing to the coroners’ office.

If there is a decision not to prosecute, the adjourned inquest would be opened again, and a provisional date for its resumption was made to start on January 16, and last either two or three days.

Lance Corporal Brynin, 22, known to his friends as Jay, died in Helmand Province on Tuesday October 15, 2013.

At the time of his death he lived in Pulborough, and he is the first soldier from the village to have lost his life since 1948.

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