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Armed Forces Act 2006

Custodial sentences and service detention
Section 260: Discretionary custodial sentences: general restrictions

516.This section prohibits a service court from passing a custodial sentence (except one fixed by law, or required under Chapter 6 of Part 8) unless it thinks the offence, or the combination of the offence and any associated offences (see paragraph 483 above), was so serious that no less severe sentence can be justified. The court can also pass a custodial sentence if it would have awarded a community punishment but cannot impose a particular requirement because the offender will not agree to it. The section reflects section 152 of the 2003 Act.

Section 261: Length of discretionary custodial sentences: general provision

517.Where a service court passes a custodial sentence (other than one fixed by law, or one required by section 219(2) or 221(2)), this section requires the sentence to be for the shortest term commensurate with the seriousness of the offence, or the combination of the offence and any associated offences (see paragraph 483 above), unless Chapter 6 of Part 8 requires a longer term. The section reflects section 153 of the 2003 Act.

Section 262: Power to recommend licence conditions

518.This section enables a service court (like a civilian court) to recommend, when passing a sentence of imprisonment for 12 months or more, particular conditions that in its view should be included in the offender’s licence when he is released. Section 238 of the 2003 Act requires the Secretary of State to have regard to any such recommendation when setting the licence conditions.

Section 263: Restriction on imposing custodial sentence or service detention on unrepresented offender

519.This section prohibits a service court from passing a sentence of imprisonment, a sentence of detention under section 209 or 218, a detention and training order or a sentence of service detention on an offender who is not legally represented. But this does not apply if the offender refused or failed to apply for representation after being informed of his right to apply for it, or was aged 21 or more when convicted and has previously been sentenced to imprisonment (not counting a suspended sentence which has not been activated). The section reflects section 83 of the Sentencing Act.

Section 264: Effect of duties to pass custodial sentences on other powers of punishment

520.This section makes it clear that, where any provision of the Act requires a court to pass a particular custodial sentence, the court can also include in its sentence any another punishment, except those listed in subsection (2).

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