Service and Criminal offence are initially dealt with by a Commanding officer. A Soldier, Sailor or Airman does not have the right to be represented. However, the need for advice at this early stage is essential. You can accept the CO’s powers of punishment (found at s.132 AFA 2006) or you may elect to be tried by Court-Martial (s.129 AFA 2006). We can advise which option best suits the facts of your case and individual circumstance. It should not be forgotten that if a person elects trial by Court-Martial then if found guilty, or pleads, then the Court-Martial is limited to the sentencing powers that would have been available to the CO.
Do not delay, get advice at the earliest opportunity.
Summary Appeal Court
Service Personnel who have been dealt with by their CO at a Summary Hearing can ask that the finding and/or sentence be appealed. There are rules governing this, but in short, a notice has to be lodged with your admin office within 14 days of the Summary Hearing exercise. Thereafter, a hearing before a panel of a Judge Advocate and 2 Serving members will take place at one of the Military Court Centres at Aldergrove (Northern Ireland), Bulford, Catterick, Colchester or Portsmouth.
The Summary Appeal Court will hear the case afresh and members of the Armed Forces have the right to be represented. In addition, funding under the Armed Forces Criminal Legal Aid Authority may cover the costs of the representation.