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Last Updated: Monday, 22 December, 2003, 12:30 GMT
Cleared Gurkhas return to barracks
Front to rear: Riflemen Durgahang Limbu, Ramesh Rai, and Yograj Rai
Gurkhas Durgahang Limbu, Ramesh Rai, and Yograj Rai (front to rear)
Three Gurkha soldiers who were accused of violent disorder after an incident in Belize are resuming their careers following their acquittal at a court martial, the Army has said.

The soldiers were on a jungle training exercise at the time of the incident in May 2001, when 14-year-old David Zabaneh died after being allegedly caught up in a brawl at a strip club.

He died from serious head injuries three days later in Florida, where he had been taken for emergency surgery.

An Army spokeswoman said Judge Advocate Paul Camp, who was presiding over the British military trial in Belize, dismissed the charges against the men after prosecution witnesses failed to appear to give evidence.

David Zabaneh
David Zabaneh was the son of a prominent businessman in Belize

"A number of witnesses did not turn up to give evidence for the prosecution," she said.

Riflemen Durgahang Limbu, 27, Yograj Rai, 23, and Ramesh Rai, 24, were attached to the 2nd Battalion of the Parachute Regiment at the time of the incident.

She said the three soldiers, who were based at Colchester, Essex, in 2001, have now moved to barracks near Folkestone, Kent, to carry on working as normal.

It is believed that the cost of staging the trial in Belize which began last month, transporting and accommodating British lawyers and court staff, and hiring a civic centre for the proceedings, had cost tens of thousands of pounds.

The three soldiers had denied the charges.




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