Progress of the Queensland Coronial Inquest into Australian Combat Deaths in Afghanistan
27 October 2014
Defence continues to cooperate with the Queensland Deputy State Coroner in relation to his inquest into the circumstances surrounding the murder of three Australian soldiers in an insider attack in Afghanistan on 29 August 2012.
The coronial inquest has reawakened many painful memories and our thoughts are with the family and friends of Lance Corporal Stjepan Milosevic, Sapper James Martin and Private Robert Poate as well as the soldiers who served with them.
The families of our fallen soldiers shoulder the greatest emotional burden - nothing can compare to their loss. The death of soldiers on combat operations also exacts a heavy toll on their mates and commanders. Defence applauds the strength and courage of the families, as well as those who have relived the incident while giving evidence during the recent hearings.
As with all combat fatalities, Defence conducted an inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the death of Lance Corporal Milosevic, Sapper Martin and Private Poate at Patrol Base Wahab. Defence considers its inquiry actions were conducted appropriately; however Defence welcomes the Coroner's views on the matter.
While the initial hearings have concluded, the coronial process continues with additional evidence and final submissions yet to be provided to the Coroner. Defence respects the independent coronial process and accordingly, will not comment on matters raised during the inquest until the Coroner has delivered his findings.
Defence is also committed to ensuring that all those affected by ongoing inquiries in this matter, including the families of Lance Corporal Milosevic, Sapper Martin and Private Poate, are provided with the support and assistance they require.
Defence Media Operations (02) 6127 1999