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The Courts-Martial (Army) Rules 1997

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Conduct of formal preliminary examination

6.—(1) A formal preliminary examination shall be conducted by an officer of the legal services branch of any corps of the regular forces (“the conducting officer”).

(2) Subject to paragraph (4) below, each witness whom the prosecutor seeks to examine orally shall be examined by the conducting officer, after which the accused shall be entitled to cross-examine the witness.

(3) A signed written statement or other record of the evidence of each witness listed under rule 5(2)(d) above shall be read out by the conducting officer, unless the accused consents to their inclusion in the record of the examination without being read out.

(4) If—

(a)the case being investigated concerns behaviour of a violent, cruel or sexual nature; and

(b)the relevant witness is a person under the age of 17,


(i)the conducting officer may read out any written statement made by or taken from the witness which would be admissible if given orally; and

(ii)the accused may not cross-examine the witness in person.

(5) During the formal preliminary examination the conducting officer may summon any witness to attend the examination and give oral evidence.

(6) After paragraphs (2) and (3) above have been complied with, the conducting officer shall explain to the accused—

(a)that he may give evidence if he so wishes but he is not obliged to do so;

(b)the consequences of choosing to remain silent; and

(c)that he may call witnesses on his behalf.

(7) Any witness for the accused (including the accused himself) may give evidence orally but shall not be subject to cross-examination, except that the conducting officer may ask a question where it is necessary to resolve an ambiguity or to enable the evidence to be recorded in a coherent form.

(8) Except where the witness is a person under the age of 14, any evidence given orally during the formal preliminary examination shall be given on oath, administered by the conducting officer.

(9) Any evidence given orally during the formal preliminary examination shall be recorded by the conducting officer or a court recorder.

(10) Where the evidence is recorded in writing, the record of his evidence shall be read back to the witness at the conclusion of his evidence, corrected where necessary and signed by him.

(11) A copy of any statement read out in accordance with paragraph (3) or (4) above and the transcript of any shorthand note or mechanical record shall be included in the record of the examination.

(12) After the conclusion of the formal preliminary examination, the conducting officer shall deliver the record of the examination to the prosecuting authority.

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