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 Mike Hancock Mike Hancock Shadow Spokesperson (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) 7:15, 2 April 2001

I shall do my utmost to focus my comments on the matter before us.

There is no compelling evidence to show that the system that we are considering is a bad one, although changes will need to be made over time. The review of armed forces discipline as a whole will mature over the next three or four years and we must take into account how European legislation will interact with it, so the next time that the House discusses the issue, significant changes will undoubtedly be made to the way that the system works. I do not believe that courts martial offer a disservice to armed forces personnel, especially when custodial sentences arise from their decisions, because all defendants have the right of appeal and the right to have outside legal opinion on their side if they so choose.