First civilian in charge of military prosecutions, Bruce Hou

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by OldRedCap, Jan 8, 2009.

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  1. Detailed write-up about Bruce Houlder.
    I think he has been following up his indoctrination by reading some of the posts here.
    The investigators, the military police, also have problems that civilian police do not have, in securing evidence when crimes occur in enemy territory, in the “operation of theatre, in hostile terrain, often with witnesses quite literally terrified to be seen to assist the British in any shape, way or form and victims often not even prepared to make a statement on our soil”. The military police could not be expected to achieve the same status of evidence as civilian police, he said.
  2. The soldiers facing court martial could not expect to receive the same level of justice as civilian defendants, he said.
  3. And how long will it be before he's replaced by a forces-hating New Liarbour Harriet Harperson clone?
  4. That isn't what he said at all. I think he may well be good for the MJS.
  5. Though that appears to be the implication of his statement.
  6. How so? The balance of evidence required to prove guilt remains the same! That is, beyond all reasonoble doubt. Any conviction based on evidence not meeting this standard will inevitably be overturned on appeal.

    He is not saying that the MP work in tough conditions ON OPERATIONs so we'll expect less evidence. He's saying that occasionally prosecutions such as the Baha Moussa one will fail because of the tough conditions, where it simply isn't possible to cross all the Is and dot all the Ts.

    It's also quite ironic for those slating RMP on other threads for their quality of investigation that he points out the conviction rate for the military runs slightly higher than the civplod/CPS. And that, despite the fallacy that a civvy brief will run rings around ALS/RMP at Courts Martial!

    To me, he seems to give a fair and balanced view of problems faced by the army
  7. But that wont matter when the dribblers happen on to this for another chance to slag the monkeys will it? :)
  8. Ah, so true. You can take a horse to water etc. If read with an open mind, I think the article is quite positive.
  9. He talks a good talk, but I still view his position with suspicion.

    Can the Forces veto an appointee that either hasn´t got a clue or doesn´t intend to understand the Forces' job? Bruce is 61, so a replacement may come quite quick.

    Who chooses the appointee, and who has the final say on their appointment.

    How much pressure can be exerted on the appointee from parliment or the Attorney General, and can the appointee "influence" the court cases?

    I don´t mean balance of evidence, I mean punishments or findings.

    ie In the event of a young Tom brassing up a motorist who didn´t stop, there is no balance of evidence. The young Tom killed him. Is the balance of view that he acted to the best of his ability going to slide to the side of a heavy prison sentance just to prove a point to those who paint the Army as babykillers, or to appease some need of the politicians?
  10. All sentencing is reviewed by people outside the army to ensure sentencing is of a parity with civil courts. And the court martial is independent of the prosecution. If influence was an issue, would the high profile courses that collapsed so ignominiously have been allowed to do so quite easily.

    The new guys job is to try and ensure that all the facts are presented as accurately as possible in order to secure a conviction.
  11. That is one of the worries though.

    Parity with civil courts? Why.

    Does the Tom on stag who shoots a driver who doesn´t stop compare with say.... Sean Mercer, or the coppers who shot Demendez.

    On the site, we have often been dismayed by the lack of "Military perspective" in parliment, now we choose to erode our own justice system.
  12. How so? If there's an offence there, it needs to be investigated and prosecuted if it's in the public interest. This guy appears to cover, and understand, the bases of working in a military environment.

    This will come as a shock to some and be denied by many: service police are not there to prove someone's guilt, but to establish the facts. If we report someone it then goes into the realm of the Army Prosecuting Authority to decide whether to charge or not and they are governed by strict criteria as to what and when to prosecute, just like the CPS. Are you suggesting that the Tom who shoots a driver failing to stop should not be investigated and the case go to court? The tom will be given ample opportunity to relate why he opened fire and if his actions fall within card Alpha he has no worries, so long as he believed at the time there was a threat to life etc. RMP investigations should explore all angles on the case and are subject to strict oversight on what information is made available to all sides involved. Recent (last few years) events show that Courts martial are not "cartoon" courts and are not afraid of binning politically sensitive courts.

    In terms of justice, squaddies should expect parity with civvy courts-there should not be two tiers of justice; the only codicil is that Courts Martial (and most civvy courts) take into account the peculiar stresses and strains of operations. The only difference is military justice is driven by service interests (maintenance of good military discipline etc) rather than public interest. IMHO the appointee of a civilian to this post is a positive thing. Certainly it hasn't made things any worse-the Attorney General has had his fingers in military justice for quite a while now.
  13. Like I said in the other forum, I hope I am out before we end up with JAG stylee courts, run by civvies, where Soldiers are brought in as SMEs only.
  14. Can't see why anyone is getting excited about this and should just see this as another step in the reforms required by the exposure of weaknesses in the Military Justice System brought out by a series of high profile Trials post 2003 and the public criticism of the system by the Attorney General in 2005. This is just another step such as the HMI Inspection and the moving of RMP out of the local CoC, all designed to improve the delivery of justice.

    I think the more interesting debate is where does this lead next? Clearly during the controversial Trials many allegations were made of prosecutions being brought without sufficient evidence. I think that this will probably lead to RMP and especially SIB moving from a reactive organisation to a proactive one with the associated culture change that will be required. Watch out for a cull of old hands?
  15. Western wrote " especially SIB moving from a reactive organisation to a proactive one with the associated culture change that will be required."

    Define "proactive" in context of this statement please. I can only interpret it as sybills riding around looking for crimes they then stop? We have people who do that - I used to call them GD blokes. (The word wooden-tops was never used)