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Army Reviewing Authority

Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) if he will list all cases heard by the Army Reviewing Authority in the last five years in respect of which no legal proceedings are ongoing; what the original sentence imposed was in each case; who the original sentencing authority was; what sentence was determined by the reviewing authority; whether the
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sentence was subsequently altered further; and where the reviewing authority's decisions are publicly presented; [8685]

(2) who is eligible to sit on the Army Reviewing Authority; what the arrangements are for (a) the Crown prosecution and (b) the defence at a review authority hearing; whether each has been present in all cases heard in the last five years; what the arrangements are for the (i) Royal Navy and (ii) Royal Air Force; and if he will make a statement; [8717]

(3) under what statutory authority an Army Reviewing Authority can overrule a decision or sentence made by a (a) civil and (b) criminal court; [9354]

(4) whether a senior army officer in charge of an Army Reviewing Authority is required to attend for the full duration of the hearing. [9355]

Mr. Touhig: The Army Reviewing Authority has no authority over civil cases or cases heard in civilian courts. The Armed Forces Act 1996, under a revised Section 113 of the Army Act 1955, established the Army Reviewing Authority to deal with courts-martial proceedings and petitions.

The Army Act defines the reviewing authority as the Defence Council or any Officer to whom all or any powers of the Defence Council as reviewing authority may be delegated. In practice the Army Board of the Defence Council has delegated its powers of review to the following personnel—the Deputy Adjutant General, the Director Personal Services (Army) or any Colonel under the direct command of the Director Personal Services (Army).
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When a case is reviewed by the Army Reviewing Authority there is no actual hearing, therefore it is not possible for anyone to attend. This system of review is similar for all three services and the Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force also have reviewing authorities.

All Army courts-martial proceedings are reviewed whether or not a petition by the accused or his/her legal representative has been presented. Legal advice is always provided by a judge from the office of the Judge Advocate General.

The reviewing authority may quash or substitute the finding or the sentence passed by the court-martial. When a reviewing authority substitutes a sentence it must be a sentence which could have been awarded by the court-martial and it must not be more severe than the original sentence. The accused and their representative are informed of the result of a review by the reviewing authority but the result is not otherwise publicly presented.

It will be proposed in the Armed Forces Bill, which is due to be introduced later this year, that the process of review is discontinued in all three services. The safeguards for service personnel can be provided in a modern system by full rights of appeal against both finding and sentence to the court martial appeal court, and by bail pending appeal.

The detail requested about cases reviewed in the last five years could be provided only at disproportionate cost. However the following information gives an overview of activity by the Army Reviewing Authority (ARA).
Army reviewing authority

Number of individuals tried by court-martial455630505470521
Number found guilty373485440400464
Number acquitted82145657057
Number of petitions presented to ARA1071181158795
Number mitigated by ARA2228181523
Number mitigated on review by ARA without a petition88189

Bowman Communications Equipment

Mr. Havard: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the performance of the Bowman communications equipment in theatre operations; and if he will make a statement. [7888]

Mr. Ingram: An initial Bowman operational capability has been achieved and it is having a direct and positive effect on the communications capability with UK Forces on Operation Telic 6 in Iraq.

The deployment of 12 Mechanised Brigade to Iraq in April 2005, with a core Bowman capability alongside some existing Clansman capability, marked a critical milestone in the incremental Bowman programme as this was the first operational use of the system. Overall, the feedback has been positive. In particular, the voice quality and coverage achieved over differing environments have vastly improved. It is being used in a range of modes, providing both secure and insecure communications, and interoperability with non-Bowman units.

The personal role radio with a 500m effective range, has significantly enhanced low level command and control wherever deployed, including on operations in Iraq. 50,000 radios have been issued to date.

Bowman is not a direct replacement for Clansman and there are still issues to be resolved. Problems encountered in fitting Bowman to complex warfighting platforms such as Challenger 2, Warrior and turreted armoured vehicles have introduced delays. The Ministry of Defence is working closely with the Bowman Prime Contractor and Design Authorities to resolve these issues. To date, over 2,600 vehicles have been converted.


Mr. Robathan: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he will write to the hon. Member for Blaby with a full list of ships and equipment involved in the STOROB process of reused ships' fitted equipment or parts thereof and place a copy of that letter in the
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Library, as he undertook to do in the answer of 17 March 2005, Official Report, column 414W, in the last session of Parliament. [7948]

Mr. Ingram [holding answer 28 June 2005]: I have written to the hon. Member, and a copy of my letter has been placed in the Library of the House.

Defence Export Services Organisation

Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) on how many occasions in the last 12months the Defence Export Services Organisation has provided information to UK companies about agents; if he will list the companies to which this information was given; and in which countries the agents were based; [7664]

(2) on how many occasions between April 2004 and December 2004 officials from the Defence Export Services Organisation met BAE Systems to discuss agents in relation to Export Credits Guarantee Department disclosure requirements; [7671]

(3) whether the Defence Export Services Organisation has provided information to BAE Systems on the selection of agents since April 2004. [7923]

Mr. Ingram: If the Defence Export Services Organisation (DESO) has information likely to assist UK companies including BAES, in selecting agents suitable to act for them overseas, our policy is to make this available. Provision of such advice is part of normal DESO business. DESO has staff in many countries overseas, and instances of such advice are not centrally recorded.

Detainees (Treatment)

Adam Price: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to his answer of 6 June 2005, Official Report, column 244W, on detainees (treatment), whether (a) detainees, (b) security internees and (c) enemy prisoners of war transferred by British forces to the United States military have been subject to the unlawful use of sensory deprivation techniques during interrogation. [3088]

Mr. Ingram [holding answer 13 June 2005]: I have received no reports to indicate that any persons taken into custody by UK forces in Iraq, and subsequently transferred to US custody, have been subject to the unlawful use of sensory deprivation techniques during interrogation.

Diego Garcia (Terrorist Suspects)

Mr. Ellwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the status of terrorist suspects held on military bases in Diego Garcia. [4827]

Mr. Ingram: Terrorist suspects are not being held on Diego Garcia.

Discharged Service Personnel

Mr. Moore: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether personnel who have been discharged under Queen's Regulations 9.413 and 9.414 are eligible for the Veteran's Badge. [9625]

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Mr. Touhig: Service personnel discharged under Queen's Regulations for the Army 1975 section 9.413 will be eligible to receive a HM Armed Forces Veteran's Badge if they have completed at least five years reckonable service. Those who leave under the terms of section 9.414 will not be eligible for a badge.

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