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Armed Forces Act 2006

Section 316: Proceedings before civilian court where person suspected of illegal absence

625.This section details the duties of a summary court in the UK, the Isle of Man or a British overseas territory when a person admits to being illegally absent or where the court is in possession of evidence that he is illegally absent.

626.If the suspect is not in custody for some other cause (e.g. if he was arrested for assault and it then transpired that he was an illegally absent serviceman he might be in custody for the assault), and the required evidence exists, the court must either (a) arrange for the suspect to be delivered into service custody, or (b) release him subject to conditions in respect of his reappearance at a later time and place ((b) is equivalent to being bailed by a magistrates’ court in England and Wales). If the court decides that he should be delivered into service custody it may hold a person in custody pending his transfer into service custody where it is likely that such transfer will be subject to delay.

627.Where the court does not have evidence that the person is illegally absent he must be released (unless he is in custody for some other cause). A person who has been released under this provision may nevertheless subsequently be arrested, either pursuant to a warrant for his arrest or under section 67 (powers of arrest where a person is reasonably suspected of committing or having committed a service offence).

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