Military Procedures

Military Procedures

RMP Station

Following arrest or voluntary attendance at an RMP station the soldier will be given rights including that of having a solicitor. It is essential that a solicitor is requested. Many people say they had not requested a solicitor because they did not think they had done anything wrong. This is often the case when a solicitor is most definitely needed. The interview process is a crucial part of the subsequent procedure. Any soldier being interviewed by the Service Police is entitled to the services of a solicitor free of charge under the civilian duty solicitor scheme. If the soldier already knows a criminal defence solicitor he can ask for them by name. Alternatively he can ask for a duty solicitor. In either case the RMP will contact the Defence Solicitor Call Centre and, as all solicitors have a unique PIN, you can request us by name anywhere in the country, or abroad.

The soldier’s solicitor will advise on how to conduct the interview and be present during it, if so required and/or thought necessary.

After conclusion of all interviews the soldier will usually be released pending further enquiries or reported for the consideration of charges. Occasionally the military authorities will seek pre-charge custody.

Summary Appeal Courts (SAC)

Initially a serviceman will be taken before his Commanding Officer. There he can decide whether to be dealt with by his CO or whether he wishes to be dealt with by Court-Martial.

Alternatively the CO may, on the advice of the Service Prosecuting Authority (SPA), send the serviceman for Court-Martial. If the serviceman is dealt with summarily, i.e. by the CO, and does not like the finding and/or the punishment he may appeal to the SAC.

Legal representation is not available before the CO but is before the SAC through the Armed Forces Criminal Legal Aid Authority (AFCLAA) who will instruct a civilian lawyer. An SAC cannot increase the punishment given out by the CO. An appeal against finding is a re-hearing of that which was heard by the CO.

Courts-Martial

This is a full Court-Martial. At the first hearing the serviceman will enter his plea of guilty or not guilty. In both instances the case will be adjourned to go before a board of officers and SNCOs either for them to sentence or to determine guilt or innocence after hearing evidence presented by the prosecution and defence.

The serviceman will be entitled to legal representation through AFCLAA who will instruct a civilian lawyer.

Did you know?

Of all the regions in England and Wales, London has the highest level of recorded crime at 124 offences per 1,000 population.