16 JUNE 1950, Page 6

The decision of the Commander-in-Chief B.A.O.R. that the death sentence

on Private Gordon Linsell, of the 1st Black Watch, who shot a German policeman while on sentry duty, will not, even if confirmed, be carried out will be received with general relief. But that by no means closes a case which has disturbed the public mind considerably. The evidence given at the court-martial raises ques- tions of which more must, and no doubt will, be heard. The suggestion that Linsell had not received adequate supervision from his officers is surprising, for the 1st Black Watch rather particularly pride_ themselves on their care of their men. And very definitely more must be heard of the order that sentries should in certain circumstances shoot to kill. What are the circumstances ? And whence do the orders emanate ? It is not for a moment to be suggested that Linsell was blameless. -Plainly, a military court would not have passed so drastic a sentence if he were. Even if he was justified in saying that he had orders to shoot to kill if persons behaving in a suspicious manner ignored a challenge to halt, there was no evidence to suggest that anyone was, in fact, behaving in a suspicious manner ; it was simply a case of a fracas with a German who was admittedly drunk. Judgement had better be suspended for a little yet.