Emotional day in military court at C.F.B. Shilo
Published Monday, February 4, 2013 6:06PM CST
Last Updated Monday, February 4, 2013 6:20PM CST
It was an emotional day of testimony inside the trial of a former Canadian Forces Commander.
Retired Warrant Officer Paul Ravensdale pleaded not guilty to six charges including manslaughter in death of Corporal Joshua Baker. The 24-year-old died during a training accident in Afghanistan in 2010. Four other soldiers were injured.
Those soldiers testified for the first time Monday.
They told the military court on Feb. 12, 2010, the only thing standing between them and the C-19 they were learning to use was their body armor. The prosecution says Ravensdale should have never let that happen.
They were standing out in the open when two C-19 land mines, also known as claymores, were set off during a training exercise.
Cpl. Joshua Baker was killed when shrapnel from one of the explosions backfired.
The commander, now retired Warrant officer Paul Ravensdale has pleaded not guilty to six charges including manslaughter and breach of duty.
Major Tony Tamburro is prosecuting the case. "This is not an accident. When you take reasonable precautions and something goes wrong that's an accident. This is not an accident,” he said.
Two of the wounded soliders had been standing with Cpl. Baker when the land mine went off. Both were seriously injured.
Master Bombardier Daniel Scott spent months in hospital to repair a hole in his chest.
"I just remember seeing the ground lift up….because there were pellets striking us from the ground," Master Bombadier Scott told the court.
Master Corporal William Pylypow was walking towards the light armored vehicle when a ball bearing went in through his bicep and exited out his tricep.
"My arm was pinned behind my tac vest. At the time I thought I lost my arm. I thought I was the only one hit. I began shouting medic, medic ... But by the fourth time I realized I wasn't the only one hit. I saw guys dropping," Master Corporal Pylypow testified.
Each witnesses called to the stand was asked by the prosecution, “What if any safety instruction were they given prior to beginning the exercise?” One soldier remembered Ravensdale saying "Stand behind the vehicles." Another testified he understood that to mean behind the line of lav's and not the actual armor.
Corporal Jaime Linn told the court, "I didn't feel like I was in danger. I was comfortable. Nobody said anything to me so I felt good".
Major Tamburro said if you are running a range, you don't leave it up to the individual soldiers to decide where's safe and where's not.
“You tell hem where's safe and where's not and you make sure there are in places that are safe,” Tamburro told CTV News following the court proceedings.
Testimony is scheduled to continue tomorrow. The prosecution will call its last witness.
This is the last of 3 courts martial in the training accident.
Major Christopher Lunney pleaded guilty to negligent performance of duty. He was demoted to Captain and fined.
Major Darryl Watts was convicted of negligence and unlawfully causing body harm. He will be sentenced Feb 20th.