General Lord Dannatt - ‘The military must have its own criminal justice’

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by DangerMouse, Jan 2, 2013.

Welcome to the Army Rumour Service, ARRSE

The UK's largest and busiest UNofficial military website.

The heart of the site is the forum area, including:

  1. DangerMouse

    DangerMouse Old-Salt Moderator

    Mmm. First thoughts:

    1. Pressure not to elect for Court Martial. I am aware of numerous occasions on which soldiers have been coerced or pressured in to accepting Summary Hearings, not proper, open Courts Martial. I believe that Summary Hearings are fundamentally unsafe. They are not magistrates' courts - but we have a system that is (broadly) fair - courts martial: why not ditch Summary Hearing, and use existing, fair Courts Martial.

    2. Service Complaints. Service Complaints are glacially-slow, and while I've never made a complaint myself, I have seen people victimised by the chain of command for having done so. Personally, I don't trust the Army to mark its own homework.

    3. Military "justice" in untrained commanders. I trust the civilian courts system - I do not trust military officers (like me), to sit as trial judge, prosecutor, jury, sentencing judge, as well as Commanding Officer/OC. If commanders are following ALS legal advice, why don't we just dispense with the commanders? If they're not following that advice, WTF are the doing, and why?

    What about everyone out there - what are your experiences?
  2. You've only just decided to comment on an article date 03 Jan 2012? Are you normally this slow?
  3. My experiences varied according to the local commander. I had experience of being "railroaded" and being treated scrupulously fairly. However I am a long time out. I still believe there should be some sort of external fast track appeal system.
  4. RP578

    RP578 LE Book Reviewer

    I think that's a typo on the Times website.
  5. If the system has worked for a few hundred years why change it now, is it that broke ?

    Not having had anything more than a few "do you accept my reward" incidents I really can't offer advice on Courts Martial proceedings, but I do know however that handing the system over to a government department to resolve the issue is more than likely to make things worse. So rather than create another dep't why not just add an option to request a civilian trial by jury along with the Courts Martial option.
    • Like Like x 1
  6. Oh its all about change, not neccesarily for the better. Soon with all the reduncances, Army legal will be the biggest branch in the forces. Look Sir! Lawyers........Fah sahnds of 'em!
    • Like Like x 5
  7. Apologies for spelling!!
  8. It changed not so long ago, and became more open, so what's this all about?
    • Like Like x 1
  9. To be honest, a few times attending Civilian Courts will make you realise that true justice is not always dispensed. The process is also painfully slow due to arguements about legal technicalities, the what if scenarios, the "he is a lost soul trying to find his way in life" arguements, stupid jurors and some Magistrates and Judges who seem to live in Nirvana where modern life is a fascinating thing they here about while sat in a box wearing a wig. Never saw or heard of a soldier who got rough justice as such at the unit level proceedings. The ones who had a valid point got a civilian lawyer on board, opted for Courts Martial, for the whole thing to be dropped and the CO being investigated/sued for false imprisonment (or some such). It works, "improvement" by a group of well meaning people would break the system that delivers Justice for what are in the great scheme of thing minor military matters that will not have to be declared upon leaving.
    • Like Like x 2
  10. Much though I am a fan of the Human Rights Act, it has well and truly shafted the military in just over 10 years.

    As if politicians weren't doing a good enough job of that already.
  11. Looks like this thread has just come to light, due to a certain SF Sergeant's Court Marshall and appeal.
    I never found military justice particularly fair like many others. I got busted once due to the false testimony of an arsole full-screw who didnt even know what time of day it was, let alone the fact that I wasnt even there when he gave an order! Not only that I was busted by the 2i/c However I got offered my tape back by the O/c the next day when he returned which was nice!
  12. Because the world has changed around it.

    Plus, is it clear that the system still works? Does it reflect contemporary standards of justice, I.e does every defendant receive a fair, open and consistent trial?

    Posted from the ARRSE Mobile app (iOS or Android)
    • Like Like x 2
  13. IMHO there needs to be a distinction between military discipline through the command chain (administrative measures with limited punishment scaled in accordance with the rank of the administering commander with a right of refusal of the accused to opt for a court martial and a right of appeal if the administrative punishment is deemed by the accused unfair or excessive) and military justice that involves courts-martial.

    The military justice system should be as mobile as the forces it serves so that justice can be meted out in theater if crimes are committed on ops since that is where the evidence and witnesses, if any will be. The idea of doing everything in a civilian court setting in the sending nation as is the practice of many continental European nations unaccustomed to major deployments is ludicrous and unfair to the accused where the fact finder (judge or jury) are unaccustomed to the military environment and culture. The appeal system from courts-martial should be mixed with intermediate appeal to a tribunal comprised of senior military judge advocates with judicial experience and ultimate appeal to a special appeals court comprised of civilian judges. In this way, the system is ultimately overseen by civilians (as all things military should be in a nation of representative government) but at the lower levels is administered by those familiar with the special culture and environment that is inherent in military service.

    The idea of ceding a nation's criminal justice jurisdiction to some international body (such as the ECHR) is anathema to the effectiveness of a military justice system where decisions made by fellow citizens of the accused are relegated to those from other nations.
  14. 'March the guilty bastard in!'

    'Do you accept my award?'

    'Top, middle or bott....'(as it flys in)