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Earl Howe moved Amendment No. 215:


Page 55, line 24, leave out subsections (1) and (2) and insert--
("( ) An offence under section 37 or 38 of the Army Act 1955 or the Air Force Act 1955 or section 16 or 17 of the Naval Discipline Act 1957 (offences under service law of desertion or absence without leave) committed by a member of a reserve force is triable summarily by a civil court as well as by court-martial.
( ) A member of a reserve force convicted by court-martial of an offence under section 98(1) or (Failure to attend for duty or training)(1) is punishable as for an offence under service law of absence without leave (as the case may be).
( ) A member of a reserve force convicted by a civil court of--
(a) an offence under section 98(1) or (Failure to attend for duty or training)(1), or
(b) an offence under service law of desertion or absence without leave,
is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months or a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale (or both).
( ) A person convicted of an offence under section (Failure to attend for duty or training)(2) is liable--
(a) if convicted by court-martial, to the same punishment as for an offence under service law of desertion or absence without leave;
(b) if convicted by a civil court, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months or a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale (or both).
( ) A person convicted by a civil court of an offence mentioned in this section, if sentenced to a term of imprisonment or if such a term is imposed in default of payment of any fine, is liable to be taken into military, air-force or naval custody (as the case may require).").

The noble Earl said: I am grateful to the Committee for allowing me to depart from the groupings as published. This amendment is introduced to improve the clarity of the Bill by referring explicitly to offences of desertion or absence without leave, rather than only referring back to the appropriate sections of the Service Discipline Acts, and to make some minor consequential changes arising out of the revision of Clause 98, and the insertion of a new Clause 98(a).

The purpose of the Clause, which is to specify the maximum penalties for offences of desertion or absence without leave, remains unchanged. It also removes the erroneous references to "man" in subsections (1)(a), (b) and (c), and subsection (2) of Clause 99 as drafted. It is the intention that all offences should apply equally to officers and men, and the amended draft reflects this policy by making the offences apply to members of a reserve force. There is no other substantive change.

23 Jan 1996 : Column CWH34

I should like to apologise to the Committee for the error in the original text. I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Earl Howe moved Amendment No. 216:


Page 55, line 44, leave out ("is found guilty") and insert ("or a person liable to recall is convicted").

The noble Earl said: In speaking to this amendment I should like to speak also to Amendments Nos. 217 to 220 inclusive and 222 to 225 inclusive. Some of these amendments are consequential to an earlier amendment which made the offences under Clause 98 apply to those liable to recall, as they already did to members of the reserve forces. The other change is in Clause 102 and modifies the clause so that procuring or inciting a member of a reserve force to become an absentee without leave is an offence, as it already is in connection with a deserter. The other amendments make a number of minor drafting changes. I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Earl Howe moved Amendment No. 217:


Page 55, line 47, after ("of") insert ("release from permanent service or").

The noble Earl said: I have already spoken to this amendment. I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 99, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 100 agreed to.

Clause 101 [Treatment of deserters etc.]:

Earl Howe moved Amendments Nos. 218 to 220:


Page 56, line 7, at end insert--
("(1A) Schedule 2 shall apply to a person liable to recall who is a suspected deserter or absentee without leave by virtue of this Part and is not otherwise subject to service law as it applies to a member of a reserve force.").
Page 56, line 8, after ("force") insert ("or a person liable to recall").
Page 56, line 11, leave out ("as provided by section 98") and insert ("in accordance with this Part").

The noble Earl said: I have already spoken to these amendments. I beg to move en bloc.

On Question, amendments agreed to.

Clause 101, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 102 [Inducing a person to desert or absent himself]:

Earl Howe moved Amendment No. 221:


Page 56, line 13, leave out from ("means") to end of line 16 and insert--
("(a) procures or persuades, or attempts to procure or persuade, a member of a reserve force to commit an offence of desertion or absence without leave;").

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Earl Howe moved Amendments Nos. 222 to 225:


Page 56, line 19, after ("deserter") insert ("or an absentee without leave").
Page 56, line 20, after ("deserter") insert ("or absentee").
Page 56, line 22, leave out from ("offence") to end of line 24 and insert--

23 Jan 1996 : Column CWH35


("(1A) A person who,
(a) procures or persuades, or attempts to procure or persuade, a person liable to recall to commit an offence of desertion or absence without leave; or
(b) knowing that such a person is about to commit such an offence, aids or assists him in so doing; or
(c) knowing a person liable to recall to be a deserter or absentee without leave, procures or persuades or assists him to remain a deserter or absentee, or assists in his rescue from custody,
is guilty of an offence.
(1B) A person guilty of an offence under subsection (1) or (1A) is liable on summary conviction--
(a) in the case of an offence involving an offence of desertion or a deserter, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months or a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale (or both); and
(b) in the case of an offence of absence without leave or an absentee without leave, to a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale.").
Page 56, line 25, leave out subsection (2).

The noble Earl said: I have already spoken to these amendments. I beg to move.

On Question, amendments agreed to.

Clause 102, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 103 [Record of illegal absence]:

Earl Howe moved Amendment No. 226:


Page 56, line 33, leave out ("the man's") and insert ("his").

The noble Earl said: With this amendment I should like to speak to Amendments Nos. 227 and 231. These are minor drafting amendments. By replacing the words "man" or "man's" with pronouns they allow the effect of "member" in the first line of Clause 103(1) to be carried through the clause. The result is that the procedures apply to officers as well as to men. I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Earl Howe moved Amendment No. 227:


Page 56, line 34, leave out ("the man") and insert ("he").

The noble Earl said: I have already spoken to this amendment. I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Earl Howe moved Amendment No. 228:


Page 56, line 43, leave out from ("Act") to end of line 44 and insert ("fails, without leave lawfully granted, to do anything mentioned in section 98(1)(a), (b) or (c);
(aa) having entered into a full-time service commitment fails, without leave lawfully granted, to appear at any time or place at which he is required to attend to begin the period of full-time service contemplated by the commitment;
(ab) having entered into an additional duties commitment fails, without leave lawfully granted, to appear at any time or place at which he is required to begin a period of duty under the commitment;").

The noble Earl said: Clause 103 provides for the investigation and recording of unlawful absences. It is only right that those who have committed themselves to perform full-time service or additional duties should be subject to these provisions in the same way as persons who are called out are. I beg to move.

23 Jan 1996 : Column CWH36

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Earl Howe moved Amendment No. 229:


Page 57, line 1, leave out ("in accordance with section 21").

The noble Earl said: In moving this amendment I shall speak also to Amendment No. 230. The omission of the reference to Clause 21 covered by Amendment No. 229 means that Clause 103 applies to training that is required as opposed to voluntary under any clause. The amendment rectifies that. The clarification of the word "fails" in Amendment No. 230 is simply a point of drafting. I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.


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