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Danny Nightingale: Legal Costs Update

November 26th, 2012 by

Update: Great news! We’ve raised more than £32,000 towards Sergeant Danny Nightingale’s legal costs in just two days! Thank you to everyone who’s donated so far.

The Nightingales still have £38,000 of legal fees to pay. Click here to make a secure donation to help the Nightingales with the rest of their legal costs.


Sergeant Danny Nightingale’s future is hanging the in the balance. In just a few days, an appeal court will decide whether he‘ll spend the next 18 months in jail or be released in time to be home for Christmas with his family. The Nightingales’ lawyers are working night and day to get his unfair sentence overturned.

But lawyers are expensive. And not only are Mrs Nightingale and her small children still facing the possibility of eviction from their home, they are already saddled with £70,000 of unpaid legal costs - and the bill is growing every day.

But what if we all chipped in to help cover their legal costs? There are more than 60,000 of us on the petition - we could wipe the slate clean in one go! We can make sure that as Danny’s appeal date approaches, the only thing he and his wife have to worry about is winning his freedom.

Click here to make a donation to help the Nightingales.

38 Degrees member Pat’s petition to free Danny now has over 60,000 signatures, and it’s already made a difference – Danny’s lawyers have told us that because of the public outcry about his sentence, his appeal date has been brought forward.

This means Danny could be home for Christmas – in a large part thanks to the role thousands of us have played in signing the petition to free him. But even if Danny does get the justice he deserves, it could be a tough Christmas for the Nightingales.His army pay has been cut off and the family have no income with which to pay their hefty legal debts.

But we could help them. We’ve seen time and time again how 38 Degrees members can come together to make the world a better, fairer place. We can change lives. This is our chance to do something incredible to help the Nightingales in their hour of need.

Click here to make a donation.


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  • Victoria Edwards

    I’ve read your donations policy and am happy that it is clear and transparent, but please can you give updates on the site through the day on how much money is raised?

  • http://www.facebook.com/al.dobbie Al Dobbie

    Just a few things.

    First, the Iraq invasion is generally regarded as an illegal occupation and by some seen as a war crime. Only recently did the Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Tribunal decide that Blair and Bush were war criminals for going to war on false grounds.

    Secondly, where some would support the work of snipers killing people in Iraq, personally I do not agree with this as a way of life.

    Thirdly, both this soldier and his comrades were under no illusion that possessing an illegal firearm in the U.K. was likely, if caught, to end in jail. They took a clear risk to break the law. Perhaps his comrades were more to blame. However, he accepted this illegal weapon in Iraq and had the opportunity to refuse it as a gift or give it straight to authorities. He also had it in the U.K. for two years before his memory loss happened.

    Fourthly, it is a fundamental principle that ‘no-one is above the law’. That means that even if you are a soldier, a hero, a political figure or very popular, you cannot act against the law and avoid the consequences that a normal person would face. Otherwise we would live in the very same lawless state that we are so keen to criticise in other regimes around the world and that was part of the retrospective justification for invading Iraq.

    Put simply, we cannot have soldiers or their friends simply deciding that it is ok to carry or possess lethal weapons.

    As a final point, do you think it sensible that a trained killer, who may likely be suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder be allowed to have a lethal weapon in his home in the U.K.?

    When a court hears evidence, even by ‘experts’ appointed by either prosecution or defence, it must make its own mind up whether this evidence is believable. It’s called a ‘tribunal of fact’. It is possible that the military court which tried this man simply did not believe his story, his version of events. These courts have to do this almost every day. I think that, although an appeal is possible within the legal framework, the ‘trial by media’ approach is not a good way to decide on what is believable or not. Courts around the country dismiss defence versions of events every day, because it is in the nature of the defence team to come up with ‘plausible’ but not necessarily true interpretations of events.

    Also, please research the timeline here:

    2007 he returns to the U.K. and his friends post him the gun.

    2009 he suffers memory loss.

    2010 the gun is found.

    From 2007 to 2009 it seems he was aware of having the gun in the U.K..

    Ask yourself this: If a person bought cocaine and left it at home, then forgot about it, would it make him less guilty of possessing cocaine? He knew it was illegal when he did it. So did this soldier.

    A few minor notes:

    1. He pleaded guilty (although it is true that sentencing pressure can make people plead guilty as they get a lower sentence).

    2. The judge, who heard the evidence in detail, officially did not believe his story that he had no recollection of the gun.

    3. The housemate who was accused of beating his wife was also accused by his wife of keeping ammunition in the house. Do you think that the combination of a ‘trophy gun’ and live ammunition is a good thing?

    I am sorry to disagree with you, but this ‘trial by media’ is not the way a country should be run.

    Besos, abrazos.


    Timeline below:

    But in November 2007, two of Sgt Nightingale’s closest friends, Sgt John

    Battersby and Cpl Lee Fitzsimmons, were killed in a helicopter crash. He accompanied both bodies back to Britain and helped arrange the funerals.

    In Iraq, his equipment was packed by colleagues, one of whom placed the pistol inside a container that was sent first to the SAS regimental headquarters in Hereford, then to his home where it remained unopened until 2010.

    In 2009, Sgt Nightingale, now a member of the SAS selection staff, took part in a 200-mile fund-raising trek in Brazil. He collapsed after 30 miles and fell into a coma for three days.

    He recovered but his memory was severely damaged, according to two expert witnesses, including Prof Michael Kopleman of King’s College, London, an authority on memory loss.

    In May, 2010, Sgt Nightingale was living in a house with another soldier close to the regiment’s headquarters when he was posted to Afghanistan at short notice.

    During the tour, his housemate’s estranged wife claimed her husband had assaulted her and kept a stash of ammunition in the house. West Mercia Police raided the house and found the Glock, still in its container.

    Sgt Nightingale’s court martial did not dispute that the pistol had been a gift. It accepted statements from expert witnesses, including Dr Susan Young, a forensic psychologist also from King’s College, London. She said that he probably had no recollection that he had the gun.

    The court also accepted that Sgt Nightingale had suffered severe memory loss. But the judge did not believe that he had no recollection of being in possession of the weapon.

  • Concerned

    I am surprised that 38 degress have taken this cause up, this person has broken the law. We have gun control in this country for a reason and no person should be above the law.

  • Anonymous

    Danny Nightingale has thanked the press,TV and radio but I haven’t heard him mention online support, let alone 38 Degrees and this campaign to fund his appeal. Some tabloids, notably the Mail, have used his words to portray the press as almost the sole force for good in the successful first stage of his appeal.

    I think 38 Degrees sometimes overestimates its own importance. Of course, as a rapidly expanding pressure group (still a bit outside the mainstream, something which many of us may prefer) you have to shout as loudly as you can, but the connection here between making the world a better and fairer place and donating to a campaign already well-funded by powerful press interests has been stretched to the limit.

  • Anonymous

    This should be linked to the petition page and needs a running total to see if a donation is still required.

    To commit a crime, there needs to be criminal intent, and there is no criminal intent in this case, therefore no crime. Which is why I support this case. Applying laws meant for criminals who deliberately hold weapons and ammunition for criminal purposes (ie criminal intent) to someone who uses weapons and ammunition at work to protect us, is ridiculous.

  • Anonymous

    In response:

    1. He did not pack the weapon into his own kit box in Iraq and send it to the UK.
    Others did that.
    2.Between 2007 and 2010 the box contain the weapon was unopened and in secure storage in the SAS base. It was moved in 2010 to the house, the box was still unopened.
    3. The box was still not opened when the police raided the house. The box had been unopened for for 4 years by that point.
    4. His work stopping Al Qaeda suicide bombers massacring civilians in Iraq is something to be proud of.
    5. The mixed collection of left over ammunition in the wrong place happens, military units have amnesties to get it all back in. The SAS use significantly more ammunition in training than anyone else, so the quantity is not really a surprise considering his job.
    6. There is no criminal intent here, therefore no crime was committed. Folly in breaking military rules yes, a crime no.

  • Simon

    I felt some discomfort at the way 38 degrees were involved in the campaign especially as the email sent out bore little resemblance to the facts now in play. Was he a medic or a sniper? It read like it was written solely to get liberals on board. I am happy campaigning on policy issues but not sure how relevant this is.

  • GaryGoat

    Why have you taken up this cause, please answer this question?

  • Anonymous

    The crime is illegally possessing a firearm. There is no need to show intent to use it. He was court martialled and correctly found guilty. His solicitor advised him to plead guilty.

  • Anonymous

    38 Degrees are going against their constitution, which is that campaigns first have to be voted on by the members, many of whom are funding 39 Degrees on a regular basis. They have unilaterally changed the constitution so that individuals can submit petitions which 38 Degrees then action without consulting members.They have broken their contract with us. I shall submit my resignation.

  • Anonymous

    Who are you to judge the case. Were you at the court martial to hear the evidence? Are you trained in law? The UK did not illegally invade Iraq to protect the Iraqis. You are thnking of Libya and Syria where the SAS have been active working with terrorist rebels who massacre civilians.

  • Anonymous

    An amusing, and angry response.

    You clearly have a political view you wish to twist the facts around. Look at the evidence available and try and take your politics out of it.

    I note you have made no comment to this man helping design a new surgical dressing for chest wounds, that is used by Ambulance Services throughout the UK.

    At an inquest in Oxford this week a decision of ‘Accidental Death’ was recorded after one man strangled is friend to death in a headlock. There was no criminal intent, so he wasn’t prosecuted.

    If you want to understand the law better, read some books and speak to some solicitors. Law is a very accessible subject to learn.

  • Anonymous

    As a former senior military officer trained in law and running courts martial I was putting myself in the place of those who judged the Sergeant.

    The fact that the Sergeant designed a medical dressing is irrelevant.
    The law you mentioned is irrelevant to this case.

    Which particular facts did I “twist”?

    You brought up the political point by mentioning Al Qaeda and the SAS in Iraq, and how we should be proud. Al Qaeda are also in both Libya and Syria fighting with the rebels and involved in several massacres. Al Qaeda is being aided by the SAS and other NATO special forces in an illegal war. Should we be proud of that?

  • Anonymous

    38 Degrees have been taken for a sucker and will suffer for it because they have ruined their reputation for being a democratic organisation. Yesterday 38 Degrees sent me mail asking for even more money quoting:

    “38 Degrees works because hundreds of thousands of us act together to
    create change. Every campaign we choose and the actions we run are voted
    on and decided together by our members – no other interests come into

    So who voted to pursue the case of the SAS sniper? I think that David Dabbs is on an ego trip.

    38 Degrees will not get an increased payment from me. They will get my resignation.

  • Anonymous

    Very amusing. Enjoy your fantasy.

  • Anonymous

    You don’t appear to be able to back up your argument. Perhaps your name is Walter and are a 38 Degrees zombie.

  • Anonymous

    It’s an ego trip for David Dabbs.

  • Anonymous

    Interesting that Sgt Nightingale’s expert witnesses came from Kings College London as this university has a War Studies department which is very supportive of the government’s military activities in the Middle East and was recently addressed by Tony Blair.

  • Anonymous

    ‘Perhaps your name is Walter and are a 38 Degrees zombie.’

    ‘Al Qaeda is being aided by the SAS and other NATO special forces ‘

    Writing comments like that you are more likely to be a fairy at the end of the garden than a ‘senior military officer trained in law and running courts martial’

    If you read my first post its all based on all publicly available information. The argument stands and friends who are solicitors agree.

  • Anonymous

    So you just believe what you obtain from the public media!

  • Stefka

    Like many people commenting here about 38 Degrees recent decision to take up the case/cause of Danny Nightingale, I am baffled and also angry that you’ve directed your efforts to this individual. This type of cause is just not the sort of campaign I’d ever expect or want you to take up on my behalf. You’ve also not responded (as far as I’m aware) to the growing collective question as to why you have done so. I’m slightly wary now of your credibility and vision as an organisation. Disappointing…