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Armed Forces Act 2006

Section 256: Pre-sentence reports

508.This section requires a service court to obtain and consider a pre-sentence report when considering whether to pass a discretionary custodial sentence, a sentence of dismissal, dismissal with disgrace or service detention, or a community punishment; for how long a custodial sentence, or one of service detention, should be passed; or whether there is a significant risk of the offender causing serious harm by committing further offences, so that sections 219 to 222 apply. The pre-sentence report is based on an interview and analysis of the defendant and his offending history and needs. It will contain advice about what punishment might be appropriate, and what rehabilitative work would be likely to prove effective in reducing the risk of re-offending. The section reflects section 156 of the 2003 Act.

509.Subsection (2) allows the court to dispense with the requirement to obtain a pre-sentence report if it considers that it does not need one. But, if the offender is under 18, under subsection (3) the court must not do this unless there is already a report on the offender and the court has considered that.

510.Under subsection (4), no sentence is invalidated by a court’s failure to obtain and consider a pre-sentence report, even where the court was required to do so.

511.If the defendant appeals to the CMAC or the Court Martial against a custodial sentence, a sentence of dismissal, dismissal with disgrace or service detention, or a community punishment, and the lower court did not obtain a pre-sentence report, subsections (5) and (6) require the appellate court to obtain and consider a report unless it thinks that the original court was justified in not obtaining one, or that a report is not now needed. If the offender is under 18, however, subsection (7) requires the appellate court to obtain a report unless it has considered a report previously obtained.

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