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 proposing that all people, including officers, who are brought into this arrangement and who might perhaps summarily have a custodial sentence passed on them, should have the right to a jury trial in a civilian court.

The response from the Ministry of Defence to the European Court judgment on Findlay v. the United Kingdom was feeble and defensive. It lost sight of the overall perspective. The whole courts martial system is flawed because it still does not accord with civil law in lots of respects or with civil proceedings, arrangements and standards. In peacetime, the armed forces should not have a separate court system and should not be able to send people to jail for serious offences without jury trial. In wartime, such arrangements should be subject to civil review.