Soldiers detained by army over thunderflash


A group of soldiers have been sentenced for making false statements about an explosive 'thunderflash' device, which was set alight during a training exercise and left a man in hospital.

Three soldiers were brought before a court martial at Burnham Military Camp near Christchurch and admitted charges connected to a training exercise in Tekapo last year.

The court martial heard how a thunderflash pyrotechnic  - used to simulate explosions - was cut open and the contents were set alight, causing a violent ignition and leaving one of the men with a second degree burn to his hand and face.

Private Donald Thomson cut the device open with a knife and tried to light it with a cigarette lighter. He was burnt in the attempted ignition and spent some time in Christchurch Hospital. He later lied about the incident in a statement.

Pte Thomson today entered guilty pleas to charges of failing to comply with written orders, making false statements and doing an act likely to prejudice service discipline. He was sentenced to 31 days detention at Services Correctional Establishment at Burnham Military Camp.

Private Paul Dobson admitted his role in the ordeal and was sentenced to 10 days detention.

A third soldier has interim name suppression and his sentence cannot be reported.

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