The Times - Army told to open up system of justice

4(T)

LE
I think this raises a few questions that Arrsers should consider in their replies-I'd be interested to hear people's opinions:

1. Why should the Army be a 'special case' and not adhere to the same rules as the rest of society? Note, this doesn't mean administering in justice in the same way-I do recognise the need for recognition of different circumstances such as field punishment, higher standards of discipline, etc.

2. Should one person have that much power over another?

3. Why should a soldier, more than anyone else, be subject to one person's opinion, whim and errors? Is he not deserving of checks and balances to ensure that his trial and sentence are fair, consistent and appropriate to his crime?




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1. Because the Army from time to time has to operate in an environment completely inconceivable to most of "society". Crown Immunity was there for real pragmatic reasons, and its removal will severely compromise the bottom-line effectiveness of the Forces;

2. In a military context, yes. However its not down to "one person"; the system has all sorts of checks and balances;

3. The checks and balances do exist. There is just sentencing leeway in much the same way as any civil court.
 
AGAI 67

Lets take a (very) simple case here.

A soldier is told to do something by a certain date on daily routine orders, this is repeated daily until the date of the event (for 10 days for example). The soldier fails to do this and after checking it is found he has been in camp for the whole period.

I instruct the LCpl who compiles the routine orders to AGAI the soldier, 1. so I am not bogged down with every minor transgression and 2. It ensures hat JNCOs are exercising command responsibilities and not just being higher payed Ptes. Note: at hi point I am not coercing a JNCO to get my will, I am ensuring individuals in the CofC exorcise their power.

The JNCO decides (in their enthusiasm) to give 20 extra work parades. The SSM reviews the award and reduces it to the standard punishment for this type of offence to ensure parity. All recorded in a register, signed weekly by the OC and counter signed monthly by the CO. Registers are audited annually during external inspections.

The old alternative used to be 'swift' justice (a system that some still pine for) or random punishments decreed by the roll of a dice, the throw of a dart or some other imaginative method.

The soldier continues to commit minor offences, punishments continue to be given at a higher level (all recorded) until there is enough evidence to subject the offender to a formal warning and ultimately apply for discharge. At no stage has the soldier committed a criminal offence, however, his conduct has proven that he is incompatible with military service and he has been discharged.

Obviously there are more severe administrative actions for the more sever offences and these can go hand in hand with disciplinary dealings, letters of censure for a drink driving conviction for instance (a rough example).

As in civilian life, a conviction has to be beyond reasonable doubt and an administrative award is based on the balance of probabilities. At all stages in the discipline/administrative process a soldier has a right to appeal and if not satisfied they can submit a service complaint.

We are not civilian, we need a disciplined organisation and individuals who are prepared to follow (lawful) orders without question. Sometimes these orders are such that every fibre of their being is screaming at them to disregard, such as stand up and run at that chap who is trying to kill you and when you get there plunge a bayonet into his face ( very melodramatic I know :) ), however, their unique disciplined environment has taught them to accept their commanders word without hesitation.

We start with drill (which lots of people now see as pointless) and unquestioned obedience of commands. Military discipline is just another extension of preparing soldiers for the battlefield.

The system can and will go wrong just as it does in civilian life. When it does it can be catastrophic for those involved and those individuals (and families) have my sympathy. However for every case that goes wrong, how many issues are dealt with in the correct manner do we hear about. The aggrieved are always more vocal and even more so if there has been a genuine miscarriage of justice. When this happens regulation must be reviewed. The system is not perfect but there is a distinct lack of viable alternatives being offered (other than use the civilian method, which would stop us in our tracks over night IMHO :) )
 

Mattb

LE
The old saying is that Justice be done and be seen to be done. I think this is a factor that may have been ignored in the argument.

Last year a County Court judge refused to make an order against Kent Chief constable and his co-defendant to disclose the estate accounts of David O'Leary who was murdered in 2008.
Is there any thread you won't try and shoe-horn Kent Police into?
 
That's not the case. You can elect to be tried by Courts Marshall, but they can't give you a higher punishment than the "level" you're being tried at, so there is no point in making such a threat.

If people don't fully understand the system which I didn't and many don't the threat still works. I was threatened with it. In hindsight I should have gone with it.






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The army system isn't perfect, but anyone who says that soldiers shouldn't be dealt with under military law is retarded because what you want is effectively the removal of military discipline.
The same discipline that allows men to tell other men to go forward at great risk to their own life's and kill people for an objective or plan of which highly likely they are not party to.

Something along the lines of selfless commitment, though it's not a great shock to find some on this website don't quite comprehend that what with the total of having served posters being about three.
 

The_Snail

ADC
RIP
When I had powers of a detachment commander, I fined a female Sgt 5 weeks pay for being in the male OR accommodation. That wouldn't have happened to a civvy, either.

I don't believe you.

For one, you would have to be at least a Lt Col to charge her, and secondly, you would only have been able to fine her 28 days pay unless you had Extended Powers. Which I very much doubt.
 

The_Snail

ADC
RIP
I don't believe you.

For one, you would have to be at least a Lt Col to charge her, and secondly, you would only have been able to fine her 28 days pay unless you had Extended Powers. Which I very much doubt.
You need to look up powers of detachment commander which transfers powers of CO to the det cmdr. It might seem a harsh punishment but she'd already been told to leave by the Ord Offr and went back later after a few more drinks. The Garrison Cmdr had wanted her RTUd and court martialled which, being Int Corps, would have ruined her career. As it was, a Regtl entry seemed the best thing all round. All to no avail, sadly, as she was kicked out a few years later for drunk and disorderly on quite a few occasions.
 

The_Snail

ADC
RIP
You need to look up powers of detachment commander which transfers powers of CO to the det cmdr. It might seem a harsh punishment but she'd already been told to leave by the Ord Offr and went back later after a few more drinks. The Garrison Cmdr had wanted her RTUd and court martialled which, being Int Corps, would have ruined her career. As it was, a Regtl entry seemed the best thing all round. All to no avail, sadly, as she was kicked out a few years later for drunk and disorderly on quite a few occasions.

I don't need to do anything. You're talking shit.

(Sorry for swearing in CA).
 
I don't need to do anything. You're talking shit.

(Sorry for swearing in CA).

You can swear as much as you like, just stop showing yourself up by commenting on something you obviously know nothing about.
Anyway, back to original point. If all powers of COs etc were removed, would that mean all charges (or whatever they are referred to nowadays) be referred to civvy court to bring the serviceman into line with their civilian counterpart? If private Bloggs is called in to see the OC for an interview without coffee or the SSM to be warned for orders, would he be able to insist on a lawyer being present? Seems a logical extension to me.
 

The_Snail

ADC
RIP
You can swear as much as you like, just stop showing yourself up by commenting on something you obviously know nothing about.Anyway, back to original point. If all powers of COs etc were removed, would that mean all charges (or whatever they are referred to nowadays) be referred to civvy court to bring the serviceman into line with their civilian counterpart? If private Bloggs is called in to see the OC for an interview without coffee or the SSM to be warned for orders, would he be able to insist on a lawyer being present? Seems a logical extension to me.

That's actually quite funny.

Something I know nothing about? Biscuits_AB can confirm my credentials.

You're still full of shit. No way did you fine someone 5 weeks wages. You're talking out of your ringpiece.
 
1. Because the Army from time to time has to operate in an environment completely inconceivable to most of "society". Crown Immunity was there for real pragmatic reasons, and its removal will severely compromise the bottom-line effectiveness of the Forces;

2. In a military context, yes. However its not down to "one person"; the system has all sorts of checks and balances;

3. The checks and balances do exist. There is just sentencing leeway in much the same way as any civil court.

But the removal of crown immunity didn't seem to lead to the subsequent collapse of fighting power in Northern Ireland, the Balkans, Iraq or Afghanistan did it?

The checks and balances are flawed though. In the last month I have had a platoon commander laughing about his ability to get his platoon sergeant to Agai someone so that he is the reviewing officer and said guilty soldier has no come back-if the soldier was innocent or the boss just didn't like him, how is that fair?

It may seem trivial at that level, but I have come across a situation at unit level where a senior officer within the unit took a dislike to someone, bullied him, Agai'd him, and the reviewing officer was the CO-the senior officer's boss and close work colleague. There was no objectivity or external oversight.

Don't think I'm going soft-this is about doing what is best for the blokes and also protecting the moral component of fighting power. Yes, we need a distinct way of quickly administering military justice to ensure discipline, particularly on ops. But if soldiers aren't treated fairly, and society perceives this to be so, then it will undermine the operational effectiveness of the army.






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