MoD finally apologises for Iraq death

The Ministry of Defence has apologised and agreed compensation over the death of Hawick soldier, Private Jason Smith, a decade ago in Iraq.

Law firm Hodge Jones & Allen LLP have acted for Private Smith’s mother, Catherine Smith, since the first inquest into his death, which was held back in November, 2006.

Mrs Smith claims were for negligence and under the Human Rights Act 1998 for breach of Article 2 of the European Convention of Human Rights, the right to life.

Private Smith was 32 when he died on August 13, 2003, after collapsing from heatstroke.

It emerged that soldiers were not given correct advice regarding the amount of water they should be drinking; the ‘yellow card’ they were provided with was drafted for the heat of the UK, not Iraq. In addition, the number of heat illness casualties and the climatic conditions were not properly monitored.

The MoD has now apologised unreservedly to Mrs Smith for the death of her son, and acknowledged the difficulties she has had trying to obtain information in relation to the circumstances of his death.

It also apologised for the loss of his medical records, and acknowledged Private Smith’s commitment and dedicated service to the Territorial Army.

After the settlement, Mrs Smith said it had been a long fight for information.

“I am glad that the Ministry of Defence has finally acknowledged that there was a missed opportunity to intervene, and the risks that contributed to Jason’s death could have been reduced,” she said.

“ I have continued to fight because no other families should have to go through what I have been through.”

Mrs Smith added: “I have been reassured that changes have been made as a result of Jason’s death.”