Saturday, August 12, 2017

Public trial and notice of Court Martial proceedings

If notice is not given that a trial is to be conducted, is the right to a public trial infringed? So it seems. According to this Darlington & Stockton Times report:
THE GOVERNMENT has introduced new arrangements to ensure military court proceedings are not taking place in private, after the issue was raised by The Northern Echo
Army chiefs have now changed their procedures to ensure the public and the media are properly informed about court martials, after Richmond MP Rishi Sunak raised the issue with Defence Minister Mark Lancaster
It follows an instance at Catterick Garrison earlier this year when two cases of manslaughter against soldiers who had served in Afghanistan was not heard in public, because the Ministry of Defence (MoD) had not given sufficient advance notice to enable the general public and media to attend. 
A journalist working for The Northern Echo and its sister paper Darlington & Stockton Times contacted Mr Sunak about the issue. 
As a result he wrote to the minister pointing out that the Ministry of Defence had breached its own guidelines about advance notice of military hearings, which must adhere to the principals of open justice by being heard in public. 
In a letter to Mr Sunak, Defence Minister Mark Lancaster said changes had been made to ensure that public holidays do not interfere with the standard procedure for publicising cases at least one day in advance.

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