After more than three years of preliminary investigations, Monday, 4 March marked the commencement of oral hearings in the Al-Sweady Public Inquiry. The Inquiry was announced by the Secretary of State for Defence on 25 November 2009. It was formally established on 1 December 2009, with the task of investigating and reporting on allegations of murder and mistreatment levelled against British troops, stemming from a gun battle that occurred in Iraq on 14 May 2004. The Inquiry is unusual in that it is not an investigation into the background of established events. Rather, the allegations are disputed by the military witnesses.
Nine members of 1COR are involved. A team of eight members of chambers are representing several hundred military witnesses: Neil Garnham QC, Neil Sheldon, Adam Wagner, Isabel McArdle, Matthew Hill, Alasdair Henderson, Matthew Flinn and Karwan Eskerie. Peter Skelton is also involved as counsel representing four Iraqi witnesses.
At present, the Inquiry is expected to hear oral evidence from more than two hundred witnesses, and is not expected to report before the end of next year. Further details can be found here.