Calgary major not guilty of manslaughter in soldier’s death

Calgary Maj. Darryl Watts has been found not guilty of manslaughter in the death of another Canadian soldier in February 2010.

Watts, 44, was also found not guilty of two counts of breach of duty.

However, he was found guilty of two acts of negligent performance of duty and unlawfully causing bodily harm.

Watts was the commanding officer the day 24-year-old Cpl. Josh Baker died after a claymore explosive packed with 700 steel balls hit a Canadian Forces platoon at a training range north of Kandahar city.

Four other soldiers were wounded.

Videos of the accident show several soldiers, including Watts, standing around watching the tests. They were not inside armoured vehicles or standing behind them for cover, as set out in Canadian Forces safety guidelines.

A panel of five senior ranking military officers had been deliberating his fate since Saturday night.

The Crown had argued that Watts, as the platoon commander, turned a blind eye to safety standards and abdicated his duty as a leader during the exercise.

The defence countered that Watts had no training with claymore explosives, so he handed over safety responsibilities to his second-in-command, who was an expert on the weapon.

The maximum punishment for unlawfully causing bodily harm is 10 years in prison, and dismissal with disgrace for negligent performance of military duty.

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