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Saturday 30 August 2014

Army corporal has charges of insubordination dropped

Mark O'Regan

Published 10/01/2013 | 05:00

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AN Army corporal called a sergeant a "windbag" and warned him not to get "all brave with me" after his superior used foul language to reprimand him in front of two privates, a court martial was told.

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Cpl William Fitzmaurice (30) appeared before a panel at McKee Barracks in Dublin to appeal a conviction by summary hearing in Lebanon of behaving in an insubordinate manner towards a superior officer.

He was convicted of four charges of insubordination by a commanding officer in Tibnin on August 5, 2011.

The incident occurred after Cpl Fitzmaurice returned to camp from a routine patrol to Beirut in July 2011.

The corporal, who was accompanied by two privates at the time, was unloading weapons and ammunition from his vehicle for storage when he was approached by the sergeant.

Cpl Fitzmaurice claimed Sergeant G Campbell started "roaring" at him before asking him to repeat what he had just said to two privates who were in their company.

"He then told me to get the f***king ammo out of the car and do what I'm f***king told," Cpl Fitzmaurice said.

Curse

"I had been two or three minutes taking the ammo out of the car at that stage and I told him there was no need to curse because I was already doing what he had asked me to do."

The court heard Sgt Campbell admitted to cursing only once, but Cpl Fitzmaurice rejected this claim.

Cpl Fitzmaurice told the hearing under cross-examination that he did not say to Sgt Campbell that "there are far too many windbags around here", adding that he had never even come across or heard the word "windbag".

He also said that he does not feel he behaved in an insubordinate manner "at any time" during their conversation.

Cpl Fitzmaurice, who has 12 years' service with the Defence Forces and was promoted in 2006, has done tours of duty in East Timor, Liberia, Kosovo and Chad.

In his ruling, military judge Col Michael Campion dismissed all charges against Cpl Fitzmaurice on the grounds that the case had become "disjointed" and "prolonged".

A court martial is the military equivalent of a civilian court, with around 50 taking place each year.

Irish Independent

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