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Armed Forces Act 2006

Chapter 2 – Court Martial Proceedings
Section 160: Decisions of Court Martial: finding and sentence

322.This section provides that the finding of the Court Martial on a charge and any sentence passed by it must be determined by a majority of the members of the court. However, the judge advocate is not entitled to vote on the finding but if there is an equality of votes on sentence, he has a casting vote. This provision ensures that (as in the Crown Court) the judge advocate is not involved in the “verdict”, which is a matter for the tribunal of fact, but his expertise in sentencing matters is given weight.

323.If there is an equal vote on finding, the person must be acquitted.

Section 161: Power of Court Martial to convict of offence other than that charged

324.This section provides that when the Court Martial finds a person not guilty of an offence but the allegations on the charge sheet amount to allegations of another service offence, including an attempted offence, the court may convict him of that offence.

Section 163: Court Martial rules

325.This section provides a power for the Secretary of State to make rules (by statutory instrument) with respect to the Court Martial. These rules may govern matters such as the administration, conduct and procedure of the Court Martial and may also create offences in respect of certain evidence provisions and provide for powers of arrest in relation to witness summonses. The rules may apply any enactment or subordinate legislation whenever passed or made, with or without modifications. The rules may also provide for a “slip rule” to allow for the correction of sentencing errors, and may provide for appeals against certain matters such as reporting restrictions that may be ordered by a judge advocate.

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