Courts martial for 10 in Defence Forces for multiple offences

Two army privates went Awol for four-and-a-half hours while on active duty, while other members of the Defence Forces were sanctioned for assault and insubordination, according to courts martial statistics for last year.

Information provided by the Defence Forces shows that 10 members of the military faced courts martial proceedings last year.

The two privates found guilty of going Awol while on active service were handed seven days detention, without pay, and issued with a fine of €800. Both were also found guilty at the same hearing of misconduct, for which they were fined €150.

They were among six members of the Defence Forces to face charges under Limited Courts Martial, which can only be convened by the Court Martial Administrator (CMA) on the direction of the Director of Military Prosecutions to deal with more serious offences against military law and/or the criminal laws of the State and in which a military judge presides alongside a Court Martial Board (which is similar to a jury.

A corporal was fined a total of €2,000 after being found guilty on six charges, including offering violence to a superior language and using insulting language, as well as being intoxicated, all while on active service. A Nolle Prosequi was entered on a charge that the corporal made a threat to kill.

Another corporal received fines totalling €1,000 and a severe reprimand after being found guilty on three separate charges — being under the influence of an intoxicant, disobeying the lawful command of a superior officer, and committing an act to the prejudice of good order and discipline.

A private was handed 21 days detention with the last seven days suspended after being found guilty of assault, while he was fined €400 on a false imprisonment charge. He was fined another €700 after being found guilty of three other charges, including one of insubordination towards a superior officer.

Another private was found not guilty by the presiding military judge on nine charges of misconduct and ill-discipline, while a Nolle Prosequi was entered on two charges that he had possession of an uncertified firearm.

Under General Courts Martial, which is similar in structure to a Limited Courts Martial, a commandant was found guilty of assault and of using insulting language to a superior, resulting in a reduction in salary to the fourth point of the pay scale for the rank of commandant and a fine equal to 10 days’ pay. He was found not guilty on two other charges.

Three members of the Defence Forces faced charges before Summary Courts Martial, which consists of a Military Judge sitting alone. A corporal was found guilty of assault causing harm and was fined 10 days’ pay and given a severe reprimand, with a nolle prosequi entered regarding two other charges, one of assault and another of being intoxicated.

Another corporal was found guilty of ill-discipline and reprimanded and fined €200, while a private stationed in the same barracks was cleared of two charges, of ill-discipline and insubordination.

Two appeals were made regarding Summary Courts Martial in 2015, both of which were successful. A trooper had determination and punishment on charges of ill-discipline quashed, and a corporal successfully appealed two determinations that he had disobeyed the lawful command of a superior officer.

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