Sergeant David Corcoran

 
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[1991] JILL-CMAC 042201

COURTS-MARTIAL APPEAL COURT

Lardner J.

Morris J.

1CM/1990
Sergeant David Corcoran
SERGEANT DAVID CORCORAN
Appellant
Q'Flaherty J.
1

In this case the appellant Sergeant Corcoran appeals from the verdict of a Court-Martial which was held on the 22nd June, 1990 at Collins Barracks in Cork. It is an appeal against sentence only.

2

He had to face a number of charges, really involving two transactions it is fair to say. One involved the forging of a document in the name of a Mr. O'Sullivan. It was addressed to the Cork Savings Bank to certify that some funds that were due to Sergeant Corcoran were forthcoming so that the Bank might be persuaded to advance a loan to him. That was the offence of forgery. He addressed a second letter but this Court is quite prepared to regard that as part of the transaction. At a certain stage in the course of his trial he pleaded guilty to misapplication of service property in the sum of £35 in cash which had been entrusted to him. That was the second matter. That he met with a plea of guilty and as far as his application to this Court is concerned he has confined his application to one against severity of the particular sentence that was imposed on him. The sentence that was imposed was that he should be reduced in the ranks from that of sergeant to private.

3

He is now 38 years of age. He served a long career in the army and he had worked his way up in that time from private to corporal and then to sergeant. We are assured by Mr. O'Donnell and we accept that he is again giving a good account of himself but the perspective from which we have to examine the sentence is that of an appeal tribunal and we are not entitled to substitute any view that we might have as if we were dealing with the matter at first instance. The principles have been set out in the decision of the Court delivered on the 20th December, 1983 in the case of Connolly and on which counsel on both sides rely. It sets out that before there can be any variation of the sentence that was imposed it must be shown that there was an error in principle by the Court-Martial or by the confirming officer in arriving at a decision concerning the sentence. Furthermore, the Court would be obliged to vary the sentence if it were satisfied that matters not relevant in law to the sentence were taken into consideration or were satisfied...

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