Monday 23 October 2017

Irish soldiers challenge court martials

Sonya McLean

TWO soldiers accused of intoxication and insubordination while serving overseas have brought a High Court challenge aimed at stopping their court martials.

The challenge has been brought by Corporals Kevin Delaney and Cathal O'Reilly, who the court heard, claim acted out of character while serving with the KFOR force in Pristina, Kosovo, after their drinks were spiked.

Yesterday, Martin Giblin SC for the corporals, said both have a memory blackout after they were each given a complimentary drink at a bar operated by US armed forces on February 6, 2010.

Both, who are stationed at Cathal Brugha Barracks Dublin, claim a drink, which contained a red substance, was given to them at "The American Bar" at KFOR's main headquarters.

After consuming the drink both had a memory blank.  They are now facing charges including intoxication while on active service, using insulting language and threatening violence to a superior officers.

Counsel said that afterwards his clients were subject to disciplinary sanctions and essentially confined to barracks.

The Military Police were asked to investigate the corporals’ complaints about the drinks.

However, this was refused and this amounted  to a denial of fair procedures and a denial of their rights under Military Law, counsel said.

There had been a delay in the appointment of a Military Judge, which had delayed the bringing of the court martial against the two corporals.

His clients were entitled under military law to a speedy trial and the delay was a denial of their rights, counsel said.

In their proceedings against the director of Military Prosecutions, the Minister for Defence, Ireland and the Attorney General the corporals want the High Court to prohibit their court martials.

They are also seeking a number of declarations from the court including the military police refusal to investigate their claims breached fair procedures and natural justice.

Leave to bring the challenges was granted yesterday, on an ex-parte basis, by Mr Justice Michael Peart.

The judge who granted a stay on the court martials pending the outcome of the High Court action, adjourned the matter to November.


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