The Calgary reservist found guilty for his part in a deadly training range incident in Afghanistan in 2010 has avoided jail time.
Darryl Watts was found guilty of unlawfully causing bodily harm and guilty on two counts of negligent performance of a military duty. The charges stemmed from a 2010 explosion in which an anti-personnel mine killed Corporal Josh Baker and left four other soldiers with serious injuries.
On Wednesday, Watts’ status was reduced from major to lieutenant and he was severely reprimanded.
The judge, who said Watts should have familiarized himself with the weapon at the centre of the fatal incident, said jail time was too severe but a reprimand only was insufficient.
Watts’ legal counsel was relieved by the decision.
“It’s a heck of a lot better than this man going to jail or this man being kicked out of the army,” Watts’ lawyer, Balfour Der, told reporters following Wednesday’s proceedings at Mewata Armouries. “So all things considered, it’s not bad.”
“(He’s) fine with it in terms of not going going to jail, he’s not been removed from the military,” Der continued, commenting on the feelings of his client. “In other respects, he’s not very happy about being convicted or being demoted. So it’s sort of a mixed bag for him. But truth be told, it probably brings a sigh of relief.”
Der says it’s likely they’ll appeal the conviction and the sentence.
Watts, who continues to work as a Calgary firefighter, can move up in the military ranks again.