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Causes of soldier's death may never be known

Mon 15 Feb 2016 In: New Zealand Daily News View at Wayback

Corporal Douglas Hughes The full detail of what happened in the lead-up to a serving gay soldier committing suicide while on duty in Afghanistan in 2012 is unlikely to ever be known, according to the politician who led the charge to have the Coroner's decision to close the books on the matter reversed. Auckland mayoral hopeful and Labour MP Phil Goff lent his weight to attempts to get the Solicitor General to open the case to public scrutiny but in October 2013 the Coroner's blackout decision was upheld due to lack of new evidence. Two and a half years later, Goff says there has been no further progress. "Essentially we hit a brick wall," he says. "Unfortunately we are left with a nagging doubt about what kind of support he received at a stressful time and what exactly led to his extreme act... I now doubt we'll ever get a full picture of it." Goff says until the Hughes case the military was widely considered to be one of the county's institutions least likely to accommodating to glbti people but acknowledges there have since been significant cultural changes. "I don't want to criticise the Defence Force but I think there was a natural tendency to close ranks" on these kinds of issues, Goff says. "I believe these situations should always be treated with maximum openness."    

Credit: Daily News staff

First published: Monday, 15th February 2016 - 7:08pm

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