Coroner rejects unlawful killing conclusion in Afghanistan ‘friendly fire’ fatality
Nicholas Moss (who did not appear in the original inquest hearings) represented both the Ministry of Defence and Lance Corporal of Horse Kelly in the resumed inquest into the death of LCpl Brynin, who died in October 2013 on active service in Afghanistan.
The Senior Coroner had previously adjourned the inquest for the prosecuting authorities to consider whether a homicide offence had been committed, the death having arisen from ‘friendly fire’ from LCOH Kelly’s SA80. At the resumed hearing, the Senior Coroner rejected an unlawful killing conclusion accepting that, on the balance of probabilities, LCOH Kelly fired in the genuine belief that it was necessary in self defence / defence of another when there was still an imminent threat to life in the firefight with the Taliban. The Coroner returned a narrative conclusion indicating shortcomings in his situational awareness and the circumstances and direction in which he fired. The Coroner accepted that there had been no wider planning, operational or equipment failures. No report to prevent future deaths was made, the Senior Coroner being satisfied with the steps now taken by LCOH Kelly’s Regiment, although the Senior Coroner recorded concerns regarding communication and liaison with LCpl Brynin’s family following the death. This was to be the subject of a separate letter of concern to MOD. Testament was paid both to LCpl Brynin’s military service and the dignity shown by his parents.