Statement in relation to Mr Saltmarsh and the death of Cpl Jones
7 June 2016
On 9 August 2000, Trooper Saltmarsh and other members of his section boarded an armoured vehicle after having completed a patrol in East Timor. Trooper Saltmarsh placed two weapons on top of ration boxes in the vehicle. After the vehicle commenced its move, Trooper Saltmarsh's weapon discharged and fatally wounded Corporal Jones.
A Board of Inquiry was held into the incident.
In 2001, following the Board of Inquiry (BOI), Trooper Saltmarsh was charged with offences in connection with the discharge of his weapon. At his trial, the judge advocate concluded that there was no evidence as to how the weapon fired or what caused it to fire and found that Trooper Saltmarsh had no case to answer in relation to the two charges before the court martial. Verdicts of acquittal were directed.
Recommendations made by the BOI in relation to the safety of Army members were adopted by Army.
Army regrets the significant distress suffered by Mr Saltmarsh as a consequence of any inference that may have drawn from either the BOI or the court-martial or any public statement that was made by Army that may have led others to believe that then-Trooper Saltmarsh had operated the weapon when Corporal Jones was tragically killed.
Army acknowledges that, as a consequence of a series of events following the tragic death of Corporal Jones, Mr Saltmarsh suffered significant detriment in both his personal and professional life, including instances in his continued career with the Army where his treatment by Army members was not consistent with the outcome of the court martial or Army’s values. Army regrets the detriment Mr Saltmarsh suffered as a result of any mistreatment by some individual Army members, which is not in any way condoned by Army.
It should be noted that, notwithstanding the very significant challenges facing Mr Saltmarsh arising from the circumstances surrounding the death of Corporal Jones, Mr Saltmarsh, to his great credit, persevered with his Army career, attending, and graduating from, the Royal Military College Duntroon. Mr Saltmarsh left the Army as a Lieutenant.
Army sincerely thanks Mr Saltmarsh for his service.
Corporal Jones was dedicated to serving his country, the Australian Army and the Australian community. His death continues to be deeply felt by his family, friends (including Mr Saltmarsh) and colleagues in the Australian Army and the Australian Defence Force.