21/11/2012 15:04 GMT | Updated 21/11/2012 15:51 GMT

Danny Nightingale, Jailed SAS Sniper, To Appeal Against Conviction

An SAS sniper jailed for illegally possessing a pistol will challenge his conviction at a Court of Appeal hearing next week.

Sergeant Danny Nightingale, 37, from Crewe, Cheshire, will also appeal against his 18-month sentence at a hearing in London on 29 November, his solicitor Simon McKay said.

His wife Sally, 38, said she was delighted at the news and hoped that he might be home for Christmas.

It comes a day after attorney general Dominic Grieve turned down defence secretary Philip Hammond's request to review the prosecution.

The father-of-two, who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, was handed an 18-month sentence in military detention after admitting possessing a prohibited firearm and ammunition.

The case has sparked widespread outrage from SAS veterans as well as MPs.

Mr McKay lodged appeal papers with Court of Appeal officials at the Royal Courts of Justice in London, accompanied by Mrs Nightingale and Sgt Nightingale's father Humphrey, 64.

He said the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Judge, had directed the hearing and would be one of the judges hearing the appeal.

"We are delighted that there is going to be a hearing so soon," said Mr McKay. "We couldn't have hoped for more."

Humphrey Nightingale, of Linford, Hampshire, said: "We could not have asked for more."

Mrs Nightingale said she was delighted and added: "We hope he'll be home for Christmas. That would be the best Christmas present ever."

Sgt Nightingale, a father of two, is being held in a Military Corrective Training Centre in Colchester, Essex, after appearing before a military court.

He pleaded guilty at a court martial to illegally possessing a 9mm Glock pistol and ammunition.

Sgt Nightingale said the pistol was packed and returned to him by colleagues after he had to leave Iraq in a hurry for the funeral of two friends killed in action.

The court heard that the gun was a gift from Iraqi soldiers Sgt Nightingale had helped to train.

Sgt Nightingale, who has suffered medical problems affecting his memory, said he did not remember having it.

Mr McKay would not go into detail when asked why Sgt Nightingale was appealing against conviction after pleading guilty.

He said lawyers would argue that the guilty plea was "not a true reflection of the level of criminal culpability".

Humphrey Nightingale said his son pleaded guilty in the expectation he would be dealt with leniently.