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Friday, 28 September 2012 09:35

Military Makes a Mockery of Bradley Manning’s Right to a Speedy Trial

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“PFC Manning’s statutory and constitutional speedy trial rights have been trampled upon with impunity,” writes David Coombs, defense lawyer for accused WikiLeaks whistle-blower Bradley Manning, in a new motion posted to his blog yesterday. The 117-page comprehensive motion takes a long and thorough look at the ways in which the Convening Authority and prosecution have utterly failed to act according to their obligations to provide Manning a speedy trial. Coombs concludes that the only remedy for these extremely long delays is a dismissal of charges with prejudice.
At the time of Coombs’ filing, Manning had been imprisoned for 845 days. Coombs emphasizes just how long this is:
“With trial scheduled to commence on 4 February 2013, PFC Manning will have spent a grand total of 983 days in pretrial confinement before even a single piece of evidence is offered against him. To put this amount of time into perspective, the Empire State Building could have been constructed almost two-and-a-half times over in the amount of time it will have taken to bring PFC Manning to trial.”
In the motion, Coombs describes in detail the prosecution’s delays in providing basic evidentiary documents, the Convening Authority’s improper exclusion of those delays from the speedy trial clock, the Government’s inexplicable inaction, and the effect this extensive pretrial incarceration has had on Bradley Manning.
Coombs then explains that the Article 10 of the U.C.M.J and R.C.M. 707, the legal precepts for a speedy trial, have been repeatedly violated. He also notes that the military has dismissed charges for much shorter periods of pretrial confinement:
“The 845 days PFC Manning has already spent in pretrial confinement dwarfs other periods of pretrial confinement that the Court of Appeals found to be facially unreasonable…”
Coombs will argue the motion in court at the October 29-November 2 hearing at Ft. Meade, MD. On October 17-18, the defense and prosecution will discuss which witnesses may be brought for this speedy trial motion.
Read the whole motion here.