While Military justice is in the news, I thought I would start a thread devoted to military justice in general terms. I am a little confused exactly what is in the interest of justice and what is in the interest in good discipline. For example the recent furore regarding Summary Hearings and if they are recorded as criminal convictions demonstrates a conflict of interest. On the one hand, Summary Hearings are a quick effective way for a Commanding Officer to discipline those he commands, but as seen with Bale Baleiwai a criminal conviction can have serious consequences. He admitted to the indiscipline of having a fight, but ended up with a conviction for Battery without knowing it. Deporting F&C soldiers is 'very harsh' - Channel 4 News What is more worrying perhaps is that on appeal the judge found he acted in self defence and consequently he was found to be not guilty, and the MOD have acknowledged it as a miscarriage of justice. I think the general consensus seems to be that summary hearings should not be counted as a criminal convictions see debate in parliament House of Commons Hansard Debates for 31 Jan 2013 (pt 0001) This seems like the obvious solution to the problem, but it is much more complicated. For criminal offences at summary hearings under AFA 06, Some punishments will result in a soldier having a criminal record and other punishments will not. Some cases will be very minor and should not warrant a criminal record, and some probably should result in a criminal record. However the whole thing is a mess, and no one really knows what will result in a criminal record and what won't. https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&pid=explorer&srcid=0B5Cec4MEg-ddVEp2dlQ2aXZtbzQ My advice to anyone charged is to take everything to Court Martial where you will be able to get a lawyer. Do not feel you should not rock the boat, because you could end up with a criminal record without knowing it. I personally think that a Commanding Officer at a Summary Hearing should not be capable of giving a criminal record, if that means changing the Service Justice System then so be it. I'd also appreciate people's thoughts on Sgt Nightingale. He has served his punishment (12 months suspended sentence) he cannot receive any additional punishment by law. Here is a press release from the SPA website: http://spa.independent.gov.uk/linkedfiles/spa/20130313-sgtnightingale_mediabrief_13march2013_amendment21mar.doc Effectively it is deemed in the interest of justice to prosecute Sgt Nightingale to determine if he is to have a criminal record or not (he cannot be punished or kicked out) yet there are perhaps thousands of soldiers with criminal records that they or the Army did not realise would end up as convictions. Does anyone else find it a bit ironic?