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Last Updated: Tuesday, 21 February 2006, 21:44 GMT
Shot soldier ordered out of Army
Defence solicitor Paul Colhoun
Defence solicitor Paul Colhoun outside the court building
A soldier who was shot in Iraq is to be discharged from the Army after he serves 12 months in military custody for a drugs offence.

Pte Kevin Challis, 22, of the 2nd Battalion Princess of Wales Royal Regiment pleaded guilty on Tuesday to attempting to supply cocaine.

A court martial heard Pte Challis bought the drug on a night out in his home town of Folkestone, Kent.

The soldier was recovering after being shot while serving in Iraq in 2004.

Defence solicitor Paul Colhoun told the hearing at RAF Aldergrove in Northern Ireland the offence was totally out of character.

You will have to leave the Army. It is necessary to discourage such behaviour
Judge Advocate Paul Camp

He said his client, who had previously served in Bosnia and Northern Ireland, had been suffering from post traumatic stress disorder.

Mr Colhoun said Pte Challis had been given little or no official help in getting over his ordeal.

"The armed services have a clear responsibility to young soldiers," said Mr Colhoun, adding his client was the "forgotten man within his own battalion".

Pte Challis bought what he thought was cocaine - though it was not clear whether it was genuine - last August from a dealer he had been to school with while out drinking with fellow soldiers in Folkestone pubs.

Previous conviction

Passing sentence, Judge Advocate Paul Camp told Pte Challis said: "You will have to leave the Army. It is necessary to discourage such behaviour," he said.

He revealed Pte Challis had a previous conviction for drink driving, which involved driving an uninsured vehicle in an accident in which a person lost their leg.

The current offence was not out of character but "another example of serious and irresponsible criminal behaviour".

The Judge Advocate conceded the wounding of the soldier in Iraq had left him with mental as well as physical scars but said they played no part in the drug offence.

He also conceded there "may have been a lack of help from the battalion" after the private was injured.

Pte Challis will serve his sentence at the military correction training centre in Colchester, Essex.


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