Required Custodial Sentences

Part of Schedule 3 – in the House of Commons at 7:15 pm on 2 April 2001.

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Photo of Harry Cohen Harry Cohen Labour, Leyton and Wanstead 7:15, 2 April 2001

I am about to provide some evidence. When conducting research in the House of Commons Library, I found an article written by my hon. Friend the Member for Falkirk, West (Mr. Joyce) for the Fabian Review in March 1999, in which he said: This reminds me that I acted judge and jury at a Court Martial while writing the pamphlet"— I shall refer to that shortly— and sentenced a young soldier to life for murder. He is now perhaps the only lifer in Britain who did not receive a trial by a jury of his peers. He should be the last. That is evidence.

The Fabian Society pamphlet entitled "Arms and the Man—Renewing the armed services" was written earlier. It states: There can be no doubt that we need an in-house disciplinary structure; but we should now question whether it should have the force of civilian law. We should also question whether it is now appropriate that soldiers charged with very serious crimes in a peacetime context, for which a guilty verdict will lead to imprisonment in a civilian prison, should be routinely denied a jury of their peers. Being "routinely denied" such a jury is unsatisfactory. People should not be sitting in jail without having a jury trial in serious cases.