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Last Updated: Monday, 22 January 2007, 19:04 GMT
Soldier cleared of assault charge
The Military Court at Bulford Military Camp in Wiltshire
Seven men have been on trial at the military court in Wiltshire
A soldier has been cleared of an assault against an Iraqi detainee.

Sergeant Kelvin Stacey was acquitted of assault, occasioning actual bodily harm (ABH), due to lack of evidence, at a court martial in Bulford, Wiltshire.

But he remains on trial facing a lesser charge of common assault, drafted as an alternative to the ABH charge.

Sgt Stacey, 30, is among seven Queen's Lancashire Regiment soldiers on trial for allegedly ill-treating suspected insurgents in Iraq.

The four-month prosecution case came to an end on Monday and Sgt Stacey was found not guilty of the ABH charge by a seven-member judging panel at the court martial.

Under military law, a court martial board can clear a defendant of a charge if it believes the prosecution has presented insufficient evidence to convict or warrant a defendant's defence team mounting a formal case in response.

Cpl Donald Payne - manslaughter, inhumane treatment of persons, perverting the course of justice
L/Cpl Wayne Crowcroft - inhumane treatment of persons
Pte Darren Fallon - inhumane treatment of persons
Sgt Kelvin Stacey - common assault
Warrant Officer Mark Davies - negligently performing a duty
Maj Michael Peebles - negligently performing a duty
Col Jorge Mendonca - negligently performing a duty

Stacey's six co-defendants Cpl Donald Payne, L/Cpl Wayne Crowcroft, Pte Darren Fallon, Warrant Officer Mark Davies, Maj Michael Peebles and Colonel Jorge Mendonca, 43, the Queen's Lancashire Regiment's former commander remain on trial.

One of the seven accused, Cpl Donald Payne, has admitted the war crime of inhumanely treating civilian detainees in southern Iraq. But he denies other charges relating to the alleged abuse.

L/Cpl Crowcroft and Pte Fallon, formerly of the Queen's Lancashire Regiment(QLR), which is now the Duke of Lancaster Regiment, deny the charge of inhumane treatment.

The charges faced by the seven soldiers at the Military Court Centre at Bulford Camp also relate to the death of Baha Mousa, 26, in custody in Basra.

Mr Mousa, a hotel receptionist, was among a group of detainees arrested following a counter-insurgency operation in September 2003.

In September, Cpl Payne, 35, of the Duke of Lancaster's Regiment, became the first British soldier to admit to a war crime after pleading guilty to the inhumane treatment charge.

He denies further charges of perverting the course of justice and manslaughter.

Maj Michael Peebles, 35, and Warrant Officer Mark Davies, 37, both of the Intelligence Corps, face charges of negligently performing a duty.

And Col Jorge Mendonca is charged with negligently performing his duties.

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