A JUDGE has overturned an order banning the identification of Yorkshire soldiers accused of smuggling guns out of Iraq to trade for drugs and cash.
Judge Advocate Colin Burn imposed an interim order earlier this month prohibiting the names and addresses of nine soldiers charged in relation to a number of firearm and drugs offences from being published.
Now he has ruled that eight of the soldiers could be named, but upheld the order on a ninth soldier until a Ministry of Defence inquiry into threats to his personal security and that of his family had been carried out.
All the troops are serving with the 3rd Battalion of The Yorkshire Regiment (The Duke of Wellington Regiment), based at Warminster, Wiltshire, which recruits extensively in Huddersfield and Halifax.
The order was removed after an application from the media.
Judge Advocate Burn, listening to the application at a preparatory hearing at the military court's centre in Colchester, Essex, upheld that the private addresses of the accused soldiers should not be published.
He said the soldiers should only be referred to by their unit.
The accused soldiers are named as Lance Corporal Michael White, Lance Corporal Anthony Creswick, Corporal Darren Clemmie, Lance Corporal Ross Phillips, Lance Corporal Ben Whitfield, Lance Corporal Brent Campbell, Private Shane Pleasant and Private Robert Marlow.
Judge Advocate Burn said he did not consider defence claims that disclosing the identities of the soldiers posed a risk to their safety. But he said a balancing exercise had to carried out in the interests of open justice and concluded that the "over-arching principle of open justice should prevail".
The nine soldiers are due to face at a series of courts martial beginning next month.
Royal Military Police carried out a criminal investigation into the "unlawful possession" of weapons after soldiers belonging to the battalion were allegedly caught smuggling stolen guns out of Iraq.
The Yorkshire Regiment, nicknamed the Yorkshire Warriors, is an armoured infantry regiment currently based in Warminster. It completed a tour of duty in Iraq last year.
It was formed in June 2006 with the merger of The Duke of Wellington's Regiment, The Prince of Wales's Own Regiment of Yorkshire, The Green Howards, and their respective Territorial Army elements.