- A tribunal found Phil Shiner should be struck off over 12 charges of misconduct
- UK troops who served in Iraq could face trial on evidence supplied by him
- Gavin Williamson said there could not be a ‘witch-hunt’ against servicemen
The Defence Secretary last night said prison was ‘too good’ for disgraced lawyer Phil Shiner as he vowed to do all he can to stop British troops facing a fresh war crimes investigation.
Gavin Williamson said there could not be a ‘witch-hunt’ against servicemen who had risked their lives to defend Britain.
He said Mr Shiner ‘got off lightly’ when he was struck off the roll of solicitors earlier this year for acting dishonestly as he drummed up cases against soldiers.
Gavin Williamson said Phil Shiner (pictured) ‘got off lightly’ when he was struck off the roll of solicitors earlier this year
Earlier this week it emerged UK troops who served in Iraq a decade ago could face a war crimes trial in The Hague – based on evidence supplied by Mr Shiner and his firm Public Interest Lawyers.
The chief prosecutor at the International Criminal Court (ICC) said there was a ‘reasonable basis’ to believe soldiers had committed war crimes against detainees in Iraq.
But Fatou Bensouda’s announcement was based on a dossier submitted by Mr Shiner, who admitted he had acted recklessly and without integrity.
A tribunal earlier this year found that he should be struck off over 12 charges of misconduct. The National Crime Agency also launched a criminal investigation.
The Defence Secretary said allegations of wrongdoing would be properly investigated but there would be no ‘witch-hunt’
Mr Williamson said: ‘Quite frankly I thought he got off lightly because [of] the misery that man brought to so many British troops who have shown bravery and courage that frankly he would never know. How he’s been allowed to destroy lives, frankly I think prison would be too good for him.
‘This is a person that has done everything they can do to undermine British forces and it really does turn my stomach. It is absolutely shocking.’
The Defence Secretary, who said he would do all he could to stop troops going before The Hague, added: ‘Any accusations of wrongdoing are properly looked into, as you would expect. But you can’t have a witch-hunt.’
Mr Williamson said there could not be a situation where service personnel ‘doing their job for the country’ and putting ‘their lives at risk to defend Britain’ were pursued through the courts – saying he found it ‘disgusting’.