Retired soldier avoids jail in accident

A now-retired soldier convicted for his role in a deadly training exercise in Afghanistan has avoided jail. A military judge pointed to former warrant officer Paul Ravensdale’s “stellar” career Tuesday as he issued him a six-month suspended sentence, fined him $2,000 and demoted him to sergeant. The prosecution had asked for four years in prison.

SHILO, Man. — A now-retired soldier convicted for his role in a deadly training exercise in Afghanistan has avoided jail.

A military judge pointed to former warrant officer Paul Ravensdale’s “stellar” career Tuesday as he issued him a six-month suspended sentence, fined him $2,000 and demoted him to sergeant.

The prosecution had asked for four years in prison.

But Col. Mario Dutil said Ravensdale was failed by his superiors when he was put in charge of both leading the exercise and making sure everyone was safe.

“Warrant Officer Ravensdale should not have been put in this situation,” said Dutil.

“He was left alone by his chain of command and put in a terrible situation.”

Ravensdale, 43, was leading a test of anti-personnel mines near Kandahar city three years ago when one misfired and shot hundreds of steel ball bearings in the wrong direction.

Cpl. Josh Baker, 24, was killed and four other soldiers were injured.

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