Armed Forces Discipline Bill [H.L.]

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 5:10 pm on 29th November 1999.

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Photo of Lord Mayhew of Twysden Lord Mayhew of Twysden Conservative 5:10 pm, 29th November 1999

My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Baroness for giving way. Will she explain the Government's thinking in relation to Clause 12 of the Bill, which provides that, in the event of election for court martial, the court martial may not impose a more severe sentence than that available to the commanding officer? If, as I believe the Minister would agree, it is desirable that an accused serviceman or woman should prefer to be tried by the commanding officer, is it not a mistake to depart from the civilian rule that the higher court can impose a higher sentence than that available to the court of summary jurisdiction?