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Courts Martial

Volume 473: debated on Wednesday 12 March 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the average waiting time was for a case to go to court martial in the (a) Army, (b) Royal Navy and (c) Royal Air Force in (i) 2006 and (ii) 2007. (193084)

The following table shows the average waiting times for a case to go to court martial by calendar year for each service.

Days

2006

2007

RAF

226

267

Army

242

240

RN

81

74

Notes:

1. The RAF and Army figures are based on the length of time taken from the date an incident was either formally reported, or an official police investigation was initiated, to the actual starting date of the court martial hearing.

2. The increase in the RAF figures from 2005 (56 days) is due to a different recording procedure. Previously the RAF measured the average delay between the point that the case papers were received by the court administration unit (which administers arrangements for the court martial) to the trial date and appearing at court martial. It is not possible to provide data within the same parameters for 2006 and 2007 as information was not transferred to the current working database.

3. The RN figures are based on the length of time taken from when the Naval Prosecution Authority prefers charges to the first day of a trial.

4. Not all applications made in 2007, where charges have been preferred, have yet reached trial (although the majority have).

5. The averages shown are heavily affected by individual cases, where for example, there may be unusual delays in obtaining evidence, such as fraud or where computer analysis is involved.