Private discharged from Defence Forces over sexual assault

A private was discharged from the Defence Forces last year after being found guilty at an Army Court-Martial of sexual assault.

The case came up before a Limited Court Martial in late-2013 and again across a number of dates last year, with the private facing three separate charges, the most serious of which was that relating to a sexual assault.

On the two lesser charges of indiscipline, the private was sanctioned with seven days’ detention; a severe reprimand; and two fines, one of €300 and another of €100. However, the private was discharged from the Defence Forces after being found guilty of “a civil offence contrary to section 169 of the Defence Act 1954, that is to say sexual assault contrary to section 2 of the Criminal Law (Rape) (Amendment) Act 1990”.

Two other members of the military came before a Limited Court-Martial last year.

In one case a private was found guilty of one charge of indiscipline and two charges of insubordination, for which the sentence was €300 in fines; a reprimand; a severe reprimand; and a seven-day period of detention without pay. The private has appealed the sentence.

In the other case, a private was found guilty of five separate charges, including assault, false imprisonment, insubordination, and behaving in a disorderly manner while intoxicated. The private has yet to be sentenced.

A Limited Court-Martial is not a standing Military Court and will only be convened by the Court-Martial Administrator (CMA) on the direction of the Director of Military Prosecutions.

It consists of a military judge and a Court-Martial board composed of at least three members of the Defence Forces.

A Summary Court-Martial is a standing Military Court consisting of a Military Judge sitting alone, and four cases came before the Summary Court-Martial in 2014, with one of the cases involving a sergeant who was found guilty of assault.

He was given a severe reprimand and ordered to pay a €1,000 fine at a rate of €75 per week, as well as compensation of €50. A nolle prosequi was entered regarding two other lesser charges.

A corporal was found guilty of insubordination towards a senior officer and given a severe reprimand as well as a €300 fine, while a private was found guilty of a similar offence and given a reprimand and a €75 fine. No finding was made regarding a corporal who was charged with going absent without leave for a day.

As for appeals made regarding Summary Court-Martial decisions, a sergeant who had been found guilty of insubordination had his severe reprimand substituted with a reprimand, while another sergeant had his determination and punishment over insubordination quashed.

However, appeals were not allowed in a case involving a private who had been found guilty of insubordination. His financial punishment of €150 was actually increased to €200.

A corporal who appealed against being found guilty of three charges of indiscipline had one charge dismissed and another quashed, with the appeal against one charge not allowed, although the financial penalty was reduced.

An appeal made last year against a decision of a Limited Court-Martial, which sentenced a private with €300 in fines as well as seven days’ detention for charges including assault and indiscipline, was dismissed.


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