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Thread: Manslaughter Charges for Acidental Friendly Fire Incident?

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    Manslaughter Charges for Acidental Friendly Fire Incident?

    It was finally released today that Manslaughter charges would be brought against Master Cpl. Robbie Fraser in the death of Canadian M.Clp Jeffrey Walsh due to friendly fire on August 9th, 2006.

    A family friend of the CFB Shilo soldier charged in the death of Master Cpl. Jeffrey Walsh claims the friendly fire shooting was a tragic accident, one that led to Walsh dying in the arms of "best friend" Master Cpl. Robbie Fraser, now facing manslaughter charges. Former Shilo resident Winnie Green said she and her military husband were longtime friends and neighbours of Fraser, charged Monday with manslaughter and negligent performance of duty following the death of Walsh during a routine patrol outside Kandahar last Aug. 9.

    Green said Fraser's wife, Kellie, shared the story of Walsh's death after her husband returned home from Afghanistan.

    "She started crying and told me what had happened," said Green, who moved to Alberta with her husband last November following his retirement from the military.

    Green, who described Fraser as a "decent, kind, wonderful father," said she was told Walsh and the other soldiers were packed tightly into the jeep when a gun was discharged.

    At first, Fraser thought his friend's chest was on fire because of the smoke from the close-range shot, and tried to put out the fire, claimed Green. By the time Fraser realized what had happened, Walsh was dying in his arms, she said.

    "When you think of your loved one being killed overseas, you almost think that he died alone, or that he didn't have anybody with him," said Green. "I just wanted the family to know that their son, when he died... he didn't die alone. Rob was right there with him." Green said she was shocked when she learned of the charges facing Fraser.

    "To make an example of the young man who's already been completely destroyed, with having this happen to his best friend... these guys deserve better," she said.

    Green said she "wouldn't have dared" speak up while her husband was still in the military, but felt comfortable doing so since his retirement.

    Reached by phone in Shilo, Kellie Fraser confirmed the Greens had been neighbours, but declined to provide further comment.

    Walsh's widow, Julie Mason, also spoke up in defence of Fraser yesterday. In an interview with the Brandon Sun, Mason said the military has made a mistake in laying charges against Fraser, whom she said was a good friend of her husband's.

    "You know when you hear truth in your heart," Mason said. "I don't believe what they're doing to Rob is true at all. I don't believe that there's any justification what they're doing to this man. It's amazing that they can hold one person accountable."

    Mason said she had heard talk of charges pending against Fraser, but she was shocked when she heard news of the manslaughter charge. She said she can't understand why the military has gone in this direction, and expressed sympathy for Fraser and his family.

    "It was a very hard day. My heart ached all morning for him." The Canadian military has been tight-lipped about the whole affair, going so far as to order Fraser not to contact her in any way in the past eight months, Mason said. She visited Fraser last night to express her support, despite the orders.

    "There's a line when enough is enough. I let him know I'm here for him, if I can change this path they are trying to take him down. I've already heard from people on base that are very upset about what is being done."

    The Toronto Star reported Tuesday that Ben Walsh, father of Master Cpl. Walsh, had also contacted Fraser in what the father described as a routine chat. Walsh had been frustrated by the mystery surrounding his son's death and said his family will move on, but plan to follow the case.

    While the military finally did provide some information to the Walsh family regarding the incident, Mason said there are still many more facts that have not been released.
    The Winnipeg Free Press Online Edition
    Winnie Green is my mother, and the man charged is my friend. I know the deceased, having been at the many BBQ's they had in Rob's and my own back yard, since we had the only Pool on the block.

    My question is this: Given the circumstances, and the statement by the widow, do you think the Manslaughter charge is appropriate?

    And please, serious responses only, if only for the sake of respecting the dead.

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    Re: Manslaughter Charges for Acidental Friendly Fire Incident?

    I don't think the manslaughter charge are appropriate in this case, especially since Walsh's widow doesn't think it is. If the shooting was accidental, and the Walsh and Fraser were friends and comrades, then I'm sure Fraser feels bad enough for what happened; why make him a criminal for something that inevitably happens in war?

    My sympathies for the deceased and your friend.
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    Re: Manslaughter Charges for Acidental Friendly Fire Incident?

    Rob doesn't just feel bad about it, like my mom said, the man's destroyed. I wondered why the only time he smiled once he got bak was after the birth of his 3rd daughter, but I knew better then to ask.
    Last edited by aceman67; Mar 14, 2007 at 08:54 PM.

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    Re: Manslaughter Charges for Acidental Friendly Fire Incident?

    I don't see why manslaugther charges need to be put on this man. Afterall it was an accident and he did admit that he had shoot his friend. Manslaugther charge is a bit harsh on the crime, and the court should have put charges against him it should have been a lower charge.
    However, it is indeed viewed that he shoot his friend and as the saying goes, "a life got a life" it may have been necessary to give him the charge.


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    Re: Manslaughter Charges for Acidental Friendly Fire Incident?

    First, I am truly saddened to hear of your loss, I empathize with your friend it is very hard to loss a friend, and further I am sorry that what I'm about to say isn't going to make things any better. I am normally a pretty rude person by nature but stories like this hit close to home. I am a Sergeant in the US Air Force and I know there are other military folk on here as well. We kind of have to look at these incidents from a different angle no matter how much we sympathize. We know the seriousness of what we do, and we as soldiers hold each other accountable to a code of conduct that most people wouldn't understand. This is why Manslaughter charges are necessary in cases of negligence. I know that your friend didn't mean to fire his weapon, but he did. The fact that because he lost control of a deadly firearm and someone died because of that, he has to accept responsibility for his actions. What’s more he needs to serve as an example to other soldiers, let this remind us all just how dangerous our weapons are, and that constant vigilance is the key to safety.

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    Re: Manslaughter Charges for Acidental Friendly Fire Incident?

    I’m sorry what has happen to you and your friends but in this case I would say yes. For when you are in the military they tech you how to keep control no matter what is going on. When solider shot one another most of the time they are being shot at or shooting other in the middle of a fire fight. But he was in a car and his gun was discharged. He should of had the gun on safety and had his finger away from the trigger.


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    Re: Manslaughter Charges for Acidental Friendly Fire Incident?

    Both of you have valid points, But the mans career is over, his life is a wreak, if it wasn't for his wife and 3 daughters (10yrs, 3yrs, 6months), he wouldn't have anything.

    Maybe he did have his safety on, but being tightly packed in the jeep as they were, maybe a piece of his uniform rubbed up against it and turned off his safety and the jeep hitting a rock in road caused the gun to go off. Thing is, we don't know what exactly happened, and I doubt we ever would.

    The man's killed his best friend that he's known since basic, he has to live with that for the rest of his life, why send him to prison for it and take him away form his family?

    As for setting an example?
    I Lived in Shilo for a long while, I helped my mother when she was the Move Support Coordinator for the base when the PPCLI moved from Winnipeg to Shilo, and I worked at the base grocery store, I know a good deal of the men and women who serve there, I can tell you, the example's been already set, why go further for no reason.

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    Re: Manslaughter Charges for Acidental Friendly Fire Incident?

    The only thing that I have to add to Psiknot and rock on is that being charged and being found guilty is two separate things. To not bring up the manslaughter charges would be negligent on the part of the military. Under the circumstances it is to be expected that he will be found not guilty. The charge of "negligent performance of duty" may be another matter. It can be hoped that the decision will be quick. Assuming it is the military taking care of it it should be.

    My sympathies to your friends and family.

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