Major acquitted in soldier's death

Dec. 4, 2012 at 7:30 PM
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CALGARY, Alberta, Dec. 4 (UPI) -- A Canadian major was found not guilty of manslaughter Tuesday in the 2010 death of a Canadian soldier during a landmine training exercise in Afghanistan.

Maj. Darryl Watts, 44, also was acquitted on two counts of breach of duty, but was found guilty of two counts of negligent performance of duty and one count of unlawfully causing bodily harm, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reported.

Prosecutors charged Watts ignored safety standards and abdicated his duty as platoon leader during a Feb. 2, 2010, training exercise near Kandihar City.

During the exercise, a claymore explosive went off near a platoon Watts was commanding, killing 24-year-old Cpl. Josh Baker and injuring four other soldiers.

Defense attorneys maintained Watts lacked experience with claymore explosives and had turned the training exercise over to his second-in-command, warrant officer Paul Ravensdale, the Calgary Herald reported.

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