Malcolm Kendall-Smith is a medical officer in the (British) Royal Air Force at RAF Kinross in Scotland. After facing internal court-marshall procedures, he has now been charged with the criminal offence of refusing to obey an lawful command. His defence will be that the order was illegal because the invasion of Iraq was contrary to international law. BBC News has done a new piece on him but has not yet put it in written form however the TV report is available. (The link will give a search page result with a further link to the video on the right hand side)

This is taken from the earlier coverage in  the Scotsman  and outlines the sequence of events.

Colleagues of the officer, who has been decorated for his role in Afghanistan, said the doctor was prepared to go to prison over his beliefs.

Kendall-Smith had previously served two tours of Iraq but after studying the legal advice of the Attorney General, Lord Goldsmith, on the conflict, he decided it would be wrong to return.

He was then suspended on full pay after being interviewed by the Royal Military Police in June before being charged in October.

The RAF doctor’s solicitor, Justin Hugheston-Roberts, said he was not arguing that he was a conscientious objector, but that the war was “manifestly unlawful”.

Kendall-Smith only had access to the Solicitor-General’s advice after it had been leaked. Better known as the “Downing Street Memos”, they were the formal advice demanded by the Chiefs of Staff before they authorised the orders to go to war. They agreed on the basis the much edited second version. The A-G’s initial advice contained may caveats, particularly concerning the requirement for a further UN Security Council resolution before military action could be taken.

His defence has asked to call Goldsmith to challenge this Opinion. The video includes a report that there is some surprise the RAF has decided to press the case as it has laid the government open to this subpoena. It could well be that the top brass are trying to cover themselves for their actions prior to the war by forcing the A-G’s and Blair’s actions to be tested in court.

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