2003 WJSC-CMAC 5851
COURTS-MARTIAL APPEAL COURT
de Valera, J.
DEFENCE ACT 1954 S169
DEFENCE FORCES (TEMPORARY PROVISIONS) ACT 1954
DEFENCE (AMDT) ACT 1960
DEFENCE (AMDT) (NO2) ACT 1960
DEFENCE (AMDT) ACT 1979
DEFENCE (AMDT) (NO 2) ACT 1979
DEFENCE (AMDT) ACT 1987
DEFENCE (AMDT) ACT 1990
DEFENCE (AMDT) ACT 1993
DEFENCE (AMDT) ACT 1998
MISUSE OF DRUGS ACT 1977
Defence forces - Court-Martial - Severity of sentence - Appeal to Courts-Martial Appeal Court - Conviction for possession of illicit drugs - Whether Court-Martial erred in principle
Facts: The appellant was convicted by a Court-Martial of two charges when he was found smoking cannabis on board a ship at sea and dimissed. He appealed the severity of the sentence imposed.
Held by the Courts-Martial Appeal Court in dismissing the appeal that the sentence imposed was at least in principle within the ambit of the kind of sentence which it was entitled to impose for the use of illicit drugs on board ship while at sea and in those circumstances the court could not find that the Court-Martial erred in principle in the severity of the sentence which it imposed.
Judgment of the court (ex tempore) delivered the24th day of November, 2003, by Murray J.
The decision of the Court is to disallow the appeal against the Appellant's dismissal from the Naval Service for the following reasons. The Appellant was convicted by a Court-Martial of two charges, one of committing conduct to the prejudice of good order and discipline, that was the first charge. The second charge, committing a civil offence contrary to Section 169 of the Defence Acts 1954– 1998in the unlawful possession of a controlled drug contrary to the relevant provisions of the Drugs Act 1977as amended. The unlawful possession occurred while he was on board a ship at sea and the facts came to light after he was found smoking cannabis by one of the crew who was on duty patrolling the ship at the time. It is true that there are many mitigating factors in favour of the Appellant namely his previous good conduct, his exemplary contribution to the naval service as evidenced by the witness, Lieutenant Commander McAllister and supported by other witnesses, the fact that he had very difficult family circumstances which were cogently explained and the fact that he has taken to...
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