Gunner jailed for going AWOL among 2013 courts martial penalties

Assault, theft, and fraud are among the offences that resulted in members of the Defence Forces facing courts-martial last year, while one soldier was jailed for three days for going absent without leave (AWOL).

Figures from the Defence Forces show eight members of the military faced courts-martial last year and five other members had appeals heard regarding earlier sanctions.

Last year was the first full year since 2009 in which there was a military judge in situ for the whole 12 months. Michael Campion began hearing cases in September 2012 after a two-year period in which just three cases had been heard by an interim judge.

The offences last year involved people of various rank, from private to captain and corporal to sergeant.

All cases were heard at McKee Barracks in Dublin.

One of the most severe punishments was issued to a gunner who went AWOl for a total of one year, one month, and 29 days. A nolle prosequi was entered for two other charges of going AWOL for shorter periods, and the gunner was sentenced to 38 days detention (all bar three suspended) and a €1,000 fine.

A captain was fined a total of €3,675 and issued with a severe reprimand after being found guilty of three charges of fraud by a person in charge of property and two other charges of conduct to the prejudice of good order and discipline.

A sergeant was fined €1,000 and issued with a severe reprimand after being found guilty of assaulting a fellow officer. The sergeant was also instructed to pay €50 compensation to the victim.

One private faced 19 separate charges and was found guilty of five of them, namely improper disposal of property on three occasions, and conduct to the prejudice of good order and discipline on two occasions. Five fines of €200 and a severe reprimand were issued to the private.

A corporal was fined €600 and given a severe reprimand after being found guilty of being under the influence of an intoxicant.

In other cases, a private was fined €350 for insubordination towards a superior officer and another private was fined €225 for indiscipline, while a captain was fined €600 and severely reprimanded for indiscipline and disobeying the lawful command of a superior officer.

Of the appeal cases heard last year, a corporal had previous rulings and punishments quashed, while, in another case, the initial fine of €300 for insubordination was increased by €100.

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