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Armed Forces Act 2006

Section 125: Powers of DSP in respect of charge allocated for Court Martial trial

269.This section gives the DSP certain powers where a case is allocated for Court Martial trial (under section 122). Some of the powers are broadly similar to those of a CO in respect of a charge allocated for summary hearing. These are powers to amend the charge, substitute another charge, bring an additional charge or discontinue proceedings. Any additional charge must relate to the same case. Any amended, substituted or additional charge is regarded as “allocated for Court Martial trial”, and so remains subject to the DSP’s powers under this section.

270.The DSP also has powers under this section:

  • to refer the charge back to the accused’s CO (if the charge can be heard summarily in accordance with section 52),

  • to allocate to the SCC a charge which that court can deal with, and

  • to give a direction (under section 127) barring further proceedings for an offence to which the case relates.

271.The section also gives a power for the making of Court Martial rules (by the Secretary of State under section 163) to restrict the exercise by the DSP of his powers under this section once an accused has been asked by the Court Martial how he pleads or where a charge is referred to the Court Martial by the SCC. Additionally the Court Martial Rules can make provision to restrict the court’s powers when it is dealing with a charge where the accused elected to be tried by the Court Martial. This power will ensure that the Court Martial is restricted in its sentencing powers to those that would be available to a CO if he had dealt with a charge summarily.

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