Wilcox trial adjourned until September
The trial of former Nova Scotia reservist Matthew Wilcox, charged in the shooting death of his friend and comrade in Afghanistan in 2007, has been adjourned until Sept. 12.
Wilcox has pleaded not guilty to charges of criminal negligence causing death and negligent performance of a military duty in the death of Cpl. Kevin Megeney, a fellow reservist from Nova Scotia.
Capt. James Young, who was part of the chain of command at Kandahar airfield in March 2007, was cross-examined Friday morning.
Defence lawyer David Bright challenged Young on soldier discipline within the camp.
The court heard that soldiers who weren't authorized to do so consistently carried loaded weapons.
Young said it was news to him that Cox and Megeney's platoon had force exemption cards that allowed them to carry loaded weapons.
He also acknowledged it was likely many soldiers routinely forgot to stop and unload their weapons when they were off-shift.
Young described the base as a busy, crowded place and told the court "soldiers are not machines, people make mistakes."
Bright immediately replied, "even young reserve soldiers make mistakes."
Bright asked Young if he had empathy for Wilcox following the shooting, to which Young replied, "I wouldn't say empathy, I was completely in the dark about the situation."
Young said military police instructed him and others not to discuss the incident among themselves as the shooting was under investigation.
The defence went on to portray an environment in which gunplay was common in the lower ranks.
Bright brought up testimony from Thursday from one of Wilcox's fellow soldiers.
He described an incident in which two higher ranking officers approved the firing of what's known as "less lethal" ammunition at a sergeant wearing an additional flak jacket.
Young was also asked about two videos of soldiers pointing their weapons at other soldiers, and in one case a camera, and pulling the trigger.
This is Wilcox's second trial after his first conviction was overturned on appeal.
Lt.-Cmdr. Robert Fetterly heads the prosecution.
"The prosecution theory is and always has been and we've presented evidence before the court that there was a scenario of two individuals playing a game of quick draw in a tent prior to the incident," said Fetterly.
Two weeks have been set aside in September when the prosecution will call more witnesses.