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While I hate the idea of us following civilians to a 10% prosecution rate, I once acted as accused's advisor / defending officer (whatever it's called) to a very talented medic who got convicted of sexual assualt when there was clearly considerable doubt. Even the ALS prosecutor was shocked. That shook my faith and made we wonder if the good old 'march in the guilty bastard' joke had more than a grain of truth in it.
I think there is a definet rerquirement for Courts Martial. There are certain offences that really only have military relevance, but offences such as assualt, theft, fraud etc could quite easily be dealt with by a civil court.
While the Courts Marshall procedure certainly has its flaws, the Civil System, especially trial by Jury, is even worse. You only have to be registered on the Voters role to be considered a suitable member. In comparison it is more difficult to gain a conviction at a Court Marshall, though sometimes it may not appear so . The good CO is correct when he says that roughly 10 per cent of cases in Civil Criminal Trials are succesful prosecutions, however, those are the cases that the Crown Prosecutions Service decide to proceed with, they do not prosecute the bulk of cases, which they consider are not in the Public Interest Can you imagine being a Soldier in front of a Jury possibly made up of CND/IRA/SNLA simpathisers...it could happen!!. Keep the system that is already in place.
I think that a Court Martial is clearly inappropriate for issues such as mis-demeanours and NDs and the like, however I tend to agree with bluenugget that it would not be good for anyone in uniform to be up in front of a jury made up of pinkos and military haters. If it works, why change it?
I don't think you should get to CM for minor dicipline 'mince & triv' "mis-demeanours and NDs and the like" unless the soldier chooses to do so on sqn/coy orders.
I'm not sure that you can get a jury of civvies to understand a lot of the 'relevent' military mumbo jumbo and besides the idea of a jury trial is so that you can be judged by people like yourself and I know many squaddies that wouldn't even drink with a civvy let alone be judged by one.
The CM system isn't perfect but then nothing is but it does the job most of the time and any alternative would still be full of problems, but run by civvies, slow and twice as expensive.
That concludes the summing up for the defence M'lud.
The CM system is a joke, a mate if mine paid up for a good Barrister who kept delaying the case, he then called the CM at an un-appropriate time when the Army could not get all of the key witnesses, made a mockery of the RSM/Orderly Officer who witnessed the incident and ripped the whole case to pieces whilst some bungling failed Army Barrister kept fumbling for his papers, total time in court - 10 minutes! #### Was guilty - he admitted it to me!
Having recently been on a court martial and found not guilty i really am stuck for this one. true they take longer than a normal court case in civvy street and to be honest you are branded slightly within your regiment because you are on one. To take them away and leave the system to the civvys might improve matters slightly in that respect.
This system is now open to abuse by anyone willing to take it all the way. On the flip side at least you will know that they will investigate it correctly and cannot pull the wool at the last minute as i have seen on my own ten minutes before mine started when they had the wrong photographs and the prosecution dismissed the evidence as it would have meant me walking in and then straight out.
Bring it on Frequency changer. i wonder why you chose this subject????
I picked this topic because someone close to me was wrongfully accused and had to go through a court marshall, it was obviously very worrying and nerve wracking for them but also for me too as depending on the outcome i didnt know if i would see them again for a long time, and that bothered me a lot, as things worked out they were found innocent which was relieving to say the least. . I just think that for some matters court marshalls are totally innapropriate and they could be sorted out within the units themselves.
I honestly believe that we need to retain a judicial system within the army that works for the army. If that means that we keep the Court Martial system then so be it - at least we know how the system works.
There are two major flaws with the current system. Firstly the monkeys and the ALS are, by the vast majority, incompetent at best and inept at worst. Having these idiots trying to present cases for CM is deplorable. There is a very clear need to shake up both organisations as most of the field army think that they are a complete waste of time (having been an inf Pl Comd I can speak ffrom a position of some authority).
Secondly I do not believe that the current CM works using people as members who do not have sufficient legal training. I don't have a solution for this but something more akin to the civilian magistrates system would be preferable to having a Maj and a couple of bored Capts trying to work out what is going on.
Jockmod i agree with you totally on those two points, I think that for some offences the Army goes totally overboard, there isn't even the need for a Court Marshall sometimes, but they end up having one anyway, it's like it's the only thing they know how to do