Inquiry into Northland soldier's death private

A military report on the cause of death of a Northland soldier who died in hospital following an undisclosed non-combat incident in Afghanistan eight months ago will not be made public.

The Defence Force has completed its inquiry into the death of Corporal Douglas Hughes, who died while off-duty at the Romero Forward Patrol Base in Bamiyan province on April 3.

A media release yesterday said the Defence Force understood the circumstances surrounding Corporal Hughes' death, but the report of the military court of inquiry into the fatality had been passed to the coroner, who would independently assess the circumstances surrounding the death.

Defence Force media team manager Ally Clelland told the Advocate the Defence Force had decided not to issue the inquiry report in this instance.

"Each court of inquiry is dealt with on a case by case basis and the circumstances around the death of Corporal Hughes are not of such public interest that this outweighs important privacy considerations," she said.

"The decision not to release the inquiry report is also in accordance with the wishes of Corporal Hughes' family."

Corporal Hughes was buried at Pakotai, 50km north-west of Whangarei.

- Northern Advocate

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