MOD Query on Troops Who Abscond Whilst Facing Criminal Charges

NEWS FROM THE CELTIC LEAGUE

The Celtic League has written to the Ministry of Defence asking a number of questions about the procedure and policies pursued when a soldier released into military custody by a Court absconds.

The move follows earlier unsuccessful attempts by the League to get answers following a case involving a foreign national serving in the British Army who absconded overseas after being bailed by a Manx court into military custody (see links below).

The text of the letter to Defence Minister, Michael Fallon MP, is set out below:

“The Rt Hon Michael Fallon MP
Secretary of State for Defence
Ministry of Defence
Main Building
Whitehall
London
United Kingdom

31/12/14

Dear Minister,

I wrote to your colleague and predecessor Phillip Hammond MP (8th July 2013) seeking information in relation to a serving soldier who absconded whilst on bail, awaiting trial for a serious sexual offence, who had been released into military custody.

I eventually received a reply from the British Military (Army HQ Andover July 2013). The reply was evasive and refused to address the points we had made on the grounds that it would breach the soldiers rights citing data protection.

I am therefore once again setting out the main points of our original queries but am framing them so that they are ‘personality neutral’.

a) When a serving soldier facing serious charges is released into the custody of the UK military what sureties are asked for or given?

b) If a soldier released into military custody, i.e. bailed by a Court, absconds is an enquiry undertaken by the British Army or MOD into the circumstances? If so, at what level is that enquiry and is a report provided for Ministers and relevant Court authorities made aware of this?

c) Given that many serving members of the British Armed forces are not UK nationals is any assessment made by the British Army that they may pose a greater flight risk? If so are relevant Court authorities made aware of this?

d) How many instances have there been over the last decade of soldiers released by courts to military custody absconding?

In relation to criminal allegations involving foreign nationals serving in the military who abscond whilst released on bail to the security of the military :

1) Are efforts made by either the MOD or the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to secure the return of the absconder from his home country or in any other overseas location he flees to?

2) Are military personnel who abscond from the UK whilst facing criminal charges and bailed to the security of the military placed on any Interpol wanted persons (or watch list) in case they move to a country with which the UK has formal extradition agreements?

3) In relation to question 2 above how many British military personnel of foreign origin have absconded whilst awaiting criminal charges in the past 15 years.

Thanking you in anticipation of a more informative reply than that received previously it would be reassuring to know that the MOD takes this type of issue seriously.

Yours sincerely

J B Moffatt (Mr)
Director of Information”

Related links here on the main Celtic League news site:

https://www.celticleague.net/news/manx-police-say-unwanted-british-soldier-has-eluded-justice/

https://www.celticleague.net/news/military-ceremonial-duties-prompt-police-query/

https://www.celticleague.net/news/mod-pressed-on-soldier-who-absconded/

https://www.celticleague.net/news/army-evade-questions-over-rape-case-soldier-who-absconded/

J B Moffatt (Mr)
Director of Information

31/12/14

(Please note that replies to correspondence received by the League and posted on CL News are usually scanned hard copies. Obviously every effort is made to ensure the scanning process is accurate but sometimes errors do occur.)

ISSUED BY THE CELTIC LEAGUE INFORMATION SERVICE.

The Celtic League has branches in the six Celtic Countries. It works to promote cooperation between these countries and campaigns on a broad range of political, cultural and environmental matters. It highlights human rights abuse, monitors all military activity and focuses on socio-economic issues

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