An army officer who served in Afghanistan could face a court
martial over the booby-trapping of a cache of explosive
components which allegedly put others in danger.
The officer, whose name and rank are suppressed, appeared for
a summary trial before disciplinary officer Brigadier Tim
Gall at Trentham today.
Brigadier Gall found there was a prima facie case to answer
and referred the matter to the Director of Military
Prosecutions. That means the matter could be heard by a court
Heavy suppressions are in place around the case, which was
heard at the Joint Forces New Zealand headquarters in
Trentham, Upper Hutt.
The army officer is facing two charges in relation to an
incident last July in Afghanistan where a cache of improvised
explosive device components was booby trapped.
He has been charged with being party to inciting another
officer - whose details have also been suppressed - to commit
a civil offence by putting an explosive device in place that
risked the safety of others, specifically by booby trapping
A second charge of negligence in performing his duty has also
been brought against him in relation to the incident. He has
pleaded not guilty to both charges.
Media were permitted to report the arraignment and the
outcome, but were excluded from hearing any evidence. Eight
witnesses were expected to be called this afternoon.
Under the law, if a disciplinary officer is satisfied a prima
facie case has been established, they must consider whether
they have sufficient powers of punishment in relation to the
charge, and whether they can act as disciplinary officer.
If they considered they did not, they must remand the accused
for trial by court martial and refer the charge to the
Director of Military Prosecutions.
Brigadier Gall now has seven days to refer relevant
documents, including a transcript of today's hearings, to the
He suppressed the accused officer's details because
identifying him would likely cause extreme stress, in
addition to the stress he had already suffered in the service
of his country.
The details of the second officer involved in the incident
have been suppressed to prevent identification of the
- By Teuila Fuatai and Matthew Backhouse of APNZ