Statue of limitations- veterans protections

#2
Commons Defence Committee pondering the manifest stupidity being displayed in the conduct of historic investigations.

Messrs Collins & Mendoca giving evidence at 16.00 today.

Statute of limitations - veterans protection examined - News from Parliament
I’m in two minds about this


There should not be a special statute of limitations or dispensation to prevent investigation & prosecution of soldiers - allowing carte Blanche for war crimes etc when the vast majority of soldiers can manage to comply with ROE
But they also should not be repeatedly hounded because it’s now in vogue
 
#3
I’m in two minds about this


There should not be a special statute of limitations or dispensation to prevent investigation & prosecution of soldiers - allowing carte Blanche for war crimes etc when the vast majority of soldiers can manage to comply with ROE
But they also should not be repeatedly hounded because it’s now in vogue
Yep.
And the burden of proof should be no less than in a criminal court.
And where a thorough investigation has already been undertaken & signed off by a senior, then unless there is new evidence then there can be no retrospective 'investigation' because it ticks some 'we're trying to be good people' boxes.
 
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#4
The issue with this is that the Limitation Act 1980 applies limitations to civil claims, not criminal. To start applying limits to crimes would be unjust.

Also, if a service person has committed a criminal act then they should be punished, just like any other criminal act. Service does not make anyone above the law.

What needs to be done is the law applied fairly to servicepersonel, the persecution and harassment to stop and CPS to ensure that they apply the rules for prosecution fairly - 1. Is there sufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction? 2. Is It in the public interest.

Clearly this is not being done.
 
#5
The issue with this is that the Limitation Act 1980 applies limitations to civil claims, not criminal. To start applying limits to crimes would be unjust.

Also, if a service person has committed a criminal act then they should be punished, just like any other criminal act. Service does not make anyone above the law.

What needs to be done is the law applied fairly to servicepersonel, the persecution and harassment to stop and CPS to ensure that they apply the rules for prosecution fairly - 1. Is there sufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction? 2. Is It in the public interest.

Clearly this is not being done.
I'd add that the MOD should be legally required to underwrite (in full) the defence and any associated expenses of any veteran hauled before one of these show trials. Regardless of cost.
 
#6
Yep.
And the burden of proof should be no less than in a criminal court..
Won't any trial be conducted in a criminal court? Why would there be a lesser burden of proof for an old war criminal that a civilian offender?

And where a thorough investigation has already been undertaken & signed off by a senior, then unless there is new evidence then there can be no retrospective 'investigation' because it ticks some 'we're trying to be good people' boxes.
Isn't the problem that in some historic cases a thorough investigation wasn't undertaken. Or even that a cover up is suspected?
 
#7
I'd add that the MOD should be legally required to underwrite (in full) the defence and any associated expenses of any veteran hauled before one of these show trials. Regardless of cost.
Why?

Why should, for example, the likes of those who beat Baha Mousa to death have their defence paid for 'regardless of cost'?

Wearing a uniform doesn't give you a right to abuse it, disgrace it, then hide behind it, particularly if your fellow soldiers die because of your actions.
 
#8
I'd add that the MOD should be legally required to underwrite (in full) the defence and any associated expenses of any veteran hauled before one of these show trials. Regardless of cost.
You'd be setting a precedent where every employer is liable for the defence costs of an employee accused of a crime. Under your scheme the NHS would have been responsible for the cost of defending Beverly Allitt and Harold Shipman.
 
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#9
I'd add that the MOD should be legally required to underwrite (in full) the defence and any associated expenses of any veteran hauled before one of these show trials. Regardless of cost.
I disagree. There are enough forces charities and people gobbling off the those that served should get a bye for any perceived criminality that support will be available.

Failing that go the Salmond route and crowd fund it (or is this only an option for multi millionaires).
 
#10
Why?

Why should, for example, the likes of those who beat Baha Mousa to death have their defence paid for 'regardless of cost'?

Wearing a uniform doesn't give you a right to abuse it, disgrace it, then hide behind it, particularly if your fellow soldiers die because of your actions.
Assume, for arguments sake - and it's clear that's all you're looking for - that the original trial found the accused not guilty.

Fast forward forty years to a government that decides to reopen the case and try the accused again to get a guilty verdict in order to pander to the prevailing social mores of a future age.

That's why.
 
#11
You'd be setting a precedent where every employer is liable for the defence costs of an employee accused of a crime. Under you're scheme the NHS would have been responsible for the cost of defending Beverly Allitt and Harold Shipman.
To be fair, defending Harold would only have taken a fraction of the cost of what he saved the NHS.
 
#12
Assume, for arguments sake - and it's clear that's all you're looking for - that the original trial found the accused not guilty.

Fast forward forty years to a government that decides to reopen the case and try the accused again to get a guilty verdict in order to pander to the prevailing social mores of a future age.

That's why.
There needs to be new and compelling evidence for a retrial.

A legal defence is always available free of charge.
 
#13
Won't any trial be conducted in a criminal court? Why would there be a lesser burden of proof for an old war criminal that a civilian offender?

Well where we're seeing trials by social media with leaks & spurious comments by investigators in historical cases then we're not seeing the same rules applied to ex-forces as opposed to shitebag gunmen getting another bite a the innocent/compo cherry. There should be no 'official' comment about any historical crimes by any of the investigating team except for the usual. We're ire-investigating because of new fresh evidence, we've charged Mr X. there is no case to answer.

Isn't the problem that in some historic cases a thorough investigation wasn't undertaken. Or even that a cover up is suspected?
As i said in my original post if there is fresh evidence then a trial is fine & dandy. That includes evidence that there wasn't a thorough enough initial investigation. No one should be above the law, not least members of the armed forces
 
#14
There needs to be new and compelling evidence for a retrial.

A legal defence is always available free of charge.
I acknowledge your undoubted prescience of law in the future.

Strangely, some things that were illegal in my youth are now legal; other things that were legal during the same time are now illegal.

Go figure.
 
#15
I acknowledge your undoubted prescience of law in the future.

Strangely, some things that were illegal in my youth are now legal; other things that were legal during the same time are now illegal.

Go figure.
So?
 
#16
Assume, for arguments sake - and it's clear that's all you're looking for - that the original trial found the accused not guilty.

Fast forward forty years to a government that decides to reopen the case and try the accused again to get a guilty verdict in order to pander to the prevailing social mores of a future age.

That's why.
I don't think you've thought this through. If "the original trial found the accused not guilty" they could only be tried again if there was new and compelling evidence. 'Pandering' to anyone doesn't meet that criteria if the evidence had been brought up, however much social mores change.
 
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#17
The bit I struggle with is people applying the standards of today against events that occurred 20-40 years ago.

If the SOP at the time was to do one thing, and today's ROE would have that be illegal, that's where the rub is.

It was Big Boys' Rules on both sides. Unless soldiers deliberately murdered people, it should be left in the past.

Otherwise we need to lock up what remains of Bomber Command for the same reasons. Which is not ever going to happen, so why should squaddies in NI be any different?
 
#19
All that needs to happen is correct application of the law and better support for those being investigated.
 
#20
Yep.
And the burden of proof should be no less than in a criminal court.
And where a thorough investigation has already been undertaken & signed off by a senior, then unless there is new evidence then there can be no retrospective 'investigation' because it ticks some 'we're trying to be good people' boxes.
The problem is that in a number of cases 'a thorough investigation' never took place. Another difficulty is that a number of cases inquiring into what actually happened are not criminal investigations into soldier's behaviour, but are designed to establish precisely what happened, usually instigated by the surviving members of a victims family. I don't see what is wrong with that. They are merely using the very same law that 6,000 soldiers sacrificed their life and limb to re-establish. Attempting to present this as some kind of attempt to re-write history is hugely disrespectful to the sacrifices made by the soldiers who made such a situation possible.
 

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