Department of National Defence



Department of National Defence

December 04, 2012 21:20 ET

Panel Renders Verdict in the Major Watts Case

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Dec. 4, 2012) - A General Court Martial has pronounced Major Darryl Watts not guilty on the charges of manslaughter and breach of duty and guilty on the charges of unlawfully causing bodily harm and negligent performance of a military duty in relation to the death of Corporal Joshua Baker and the injury of four other soldiers on a training range in Afghanistan in February 2010.

Of six charges, Major Watts is found:

  • not guilty of one count of Manslaughter under section 130 of the National Defence Act contrary to subsection 236(b) of the Criminal Code of Canada;
  • not guilty of two counts of breach of duty under section 130 of the National Defence Act contrary to section 80 of the Criminal Code of Canada;
  • guilty of one count of unlawfully causing bodily harm under section 130 of the National Defence Act contrary to section 269 of the Criminal Code of Canada; and
  • guilty of two counts of negligent performance of a military duty under section 124 of the National Defence Act.

General court martial proceedings against Major Watts began on November 13, 2012, in Calgary, Alberta and were presided over by Commander Peter Lamont, Military Judge.

Sentencing is slated to take place on January 14, 2013 at Mewata Armoury in Calgary.

At the time of the incident, Major Watts held the rank of Captain and was the platoon commander responsible for overseeing the platoon's training activities. It was alleged that range safety procedures were violated in relation to the planning and execution of activities on the range that day.

At a court martial on September 13, 2012, Captain (then Major) Lunney pleaded guilty to negligent performance of a military duty in relation to the same incident. He was sentenced to a reduction in rank to Captain and a severe reprimand. Warrant Officer (retired) Paul Ravensdale was also charged in relation to the same incident; however, his court martial has yet to be convened.

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