Migrant crisis Royal Marine facing arrest

Migrants attempt to cross the Mediterranean on an overloaded boat.
Migrants attempt to cross the Mediterranean on an overloaded boat.

A ROYAL Marine is facing arrest - after he was sent to aid the migrant crisis in the Mediterranean when he was meant to be standing trial.

Marcus Julian Christians, 24, was meant to appear in a Scottish court over an alleged street brawl.

He faces being arrested when he returns to Scotland from the humanitarian mission.

Christians is one of four marines from RM Condor, Arbroath, who are accused of engaging in a fight and committing a breach of the peace on the town’s Grant Road on January 19 last year.

He is also accused of repeatedly punching and kicking a man to the head to his severe injury on the same date.

The trial date had been set around when the marines would be in the country but it emerged that Christians had recently changed unit.

He is now understood to be on duty on a mission connected to the migrant crisis - and didn’t tell his lawyer he was away.

His non-appearance meant 15 witnesses who had attended court in anticipation of giving evidence were sent away.

Defence solicitor Ian Flynn said he had only learned that Christians would not attend the trial at Forfar Sheriff Court earlier this week.

He added: “As far as I was aware, all four (marines) would be here.”

Sheriff Gregor Murray said he would “reluctantly” postpone the trial until December 21.

He added: “Christians has pled not guilty and is entitled to a trial.

“There may be cogent military reasons for Christians to be deployed but those responsible for deploying him have not informed the court, or, if the responsibility lay with Christians, he has not informed his lawyer.

“With very great reluctance we will set a new date and I will issue a warrant for Christians.

‘‘I will leave it to the procurator fiscal’s discretion whether he is arrested or invited to attend.”

The other three marines – Kevin Hurley, 27, Oliver Bale, 21, and Sam Neasham, 21 – whose addresses were given as RM Condor - maintained their not guilty pleas to the charge of engaging in the fight.

Three other men from Arbroath have previously been sentenced for their part in the incident, each being fined £400.