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Armed Forces Act 2006

Service detention and custodial sentences
Section 242: Service detention: general restriction

482.Subsection (1) prohibits a court (except the SAC) from passing a sentence of service detention unless the offence is serious enough to warrant such a sentence. If the offender is also convicted of other offences in the same proceedings, or is sentenced for other offences at the same time, or other offences are taken into consideration when sentencing him, those offences are “associated” with the offence for which he is sentenced; and a sentence of service detention can be passed if the combination of the offence for which he is sentenced and the associated offences is serious enough to warrant it. Subsection (4) similarly prohibits a CO or the SAC from awarding service detention unless the offence or offences for which the offender is being sentenced is or are serious enough to warrant it. These provisions apply to service detention a principle laid down in relation to custodial sentences by section 152 of the 2003 Act.

483.Subsections (2) and (5) require a court or CO, when deciding whether an offence or combination of offences is serious enough to warrant a sentence of service detention, or how long a sentence it warrants, to take into account all available information about the circumstances of the offence or offences. These provisions apply to service detention a principle laid down in relation to custodial sentences by section 156(1) of the 2003 Act.

Section 243: Length of term of service detention: general provision

484.Where a sentence of service detention is passed by a court (except the SAC), subsection (2) requires it to be for the shortest term commensurate with the seriousness of the offence and any associated offences (see paragraph 483 above). Where such a sentence is passed by a CO or the SAC, subsection (3) similarly requires it to be for the shortest term commensurate with the seriousness of the offence or offences for which the offender is sentenced. The section applies to service detention a principle laid down in relation to custodial sentences by section 153 of the 2003 Act.

Section 244: Limit on combined term of sentences of service detention

485.This section prohibits a court or CO from sentencing an offender, or activating a suspended sentence previously imposed on him, if it would result in the offender being subject to sentences of service detention amounting to more than two years in total. If a court or CO purports to do this, the excess period is remitted.

Section 245: Section 244: supplementary

486.This section supplements section 244. Subsection (2) provides that where an offender has been released from a sentence of service detention, the sentence does not count towards the two-year maximum.

487.Subsection (3) ensures that a suspended sentence of detention does not count for the purposes of the two-year limit unless it has been activated under section 191 or 193.

488.Subsection (4) ensures that a sentence of detention passed by a CO counts for the purposes of the two-year limit even if the offender is not currently in custody because of the rules in section 290 or 291 (which allow him to delay starting the sentence until he has had a chance to appeal).

489.Subsection (5) ensures that, where a person has been detained continuously under two or more sentences of detention (because one was made consecutive to another, or they were concurrent but one was for a longer period than another), both or all of those sentences count for the purposes of the two-year limit.

Section 246: Crediting of time in service custody: terms of imprisonment and detention

490.Where a term of imprisonment for a fixed term or a sentence of service detention is passed on an offender who has been kept in service custody for any period since he was charged, this section requires the court or CO to direct that time spent in custody by the offender in connection with the offence in question or any related offence should count towards the sentence, unless the court or CO thinks it just not to do so. This requirement may be relaxed by rules made by the Secretary of State in certain circumstances. A court or CO deciding not to make such a direction must state in open court why it has decided to do so. This section reflects section 240 of the 2003 Act.

Section 247: Crediting of time in service custody: supplementary

491.This section supplements section 246. Subsection (1) has the effect that section 246 applies not only where the offender has been kept in service custody when charged with the offence for which he is being sentenced, but also where he has been kept in service custody in connection with a different charge based on the same facts or evidence.

492.Subsection (2) provides that if the offender has been kept in service custody or detained in connection with other charges (which are not founded on the same facts or evidence), the fact that he has been detained is to be ignored for the purposes of section 246.

493.Subsection (3) ensures that section 246 does not apply when a suspended sentence is passed, but does apply if the sentence is activated.

494.Subsections (4) to (7) enable consecutive and concurrent sentences, in specified circumstances, to be treated as a single sentence for the purposes of section 246(2).

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