Persons may be discharged from the military
- by order of prescribed military authority
- on foot or a sentence of discharge with or without ignominy by court-martial
- or in pursuance of the direction of the Minister or authorised officer for prescribed reason.
Prescribed reasons (by which person may be discharged by direction of the Minister or officer authorised) include
- improper enlistment,
- application for discharge by purchase subject to certain conditions
- own request after 12 years
- conviction by the Special Criminal Court
- appointment to be an officer
- completion of engagement (requires to re-enlist).
A female soldier may request on marriage or becoming pregnant to be discharged
The officer commanding may discharge where
- a person has been convicted
- on request to take up civilian appointment
- on application for compassionate reasons,
- is not likely to become efficient.
- whose services are no longer required.
Other applications are made to the Adjutant General.
A resignation may be accepted or declined.
The President on the advice of the Minister retire officers for reasons including medical grounds, conduct, inefficiency and the interests of the service. The President may dismiss an officer following due process. The President has no discretion and his or her role is nominal.
The reasons for the proposed retirement must be communicated and he must be given an opportunity to make representations. Basic constitutional justice applies. This is more important where the grounds are discreditable.
As an officeholder, the principles of constitution and natural justice apply to a discharge on a non-consensual basis. Where the reasons are discreditable, there is a greater obligation to ensure the person is given the opportunity to meet his case as it will reflect on his character.
There are retirement ages which are relatively low, referable to particular ranks. The Minister may extend the applicable position. The retirement ages increase in accordance with the higher ranks. Certain officers may be appointed for a fixed, period so that their office expires.
Officers may retire with the permission of the Minister for Defence. If they are subject to an undertaking to refund expenses, they are obliged to repay those sums as a condition of retirement. Officers against whom misconduct charges are pending may not be permitted to retire until the case has concluded.
A medical board classifies members of the Defence Forces in accordance with their medical category. Examinations are recorded and answered on the soldier or officer’s medical book.
There are categories of mental and bodily fitness, prescribed by regulation. They are categorised in accordance with their physical abilities and efficiencies. Their physical and mental constitution, vision hearing, and general health are considered. There are specific tests of hearing and vision undertaken.
There are various gradings, depending on their ability to undertake physical exertion. Once a member of the Defence Forces, is over forty years of age, he is automatically downgraded, from a fitness perspective.
An officer or soldier who is unable to perform normal military duties because of physical or mental disability may be granted sick leave. He may be required to undergo medical examination as often as advised.
There are provisions for the extension of sick leave. If a person is unable to resume duty after a number of extensions, he may be obliged to retire from the Defence Forces. There are separate but similar rules in respect of non-commissioned officers and private soldiers.
Recruits, cadets and other entrants are required to achieve minimum standards following examination. Members of the Defence Forces undertake examination at least every 12 months and may be reclassified at intervals of three years or on certain other occasions as may be designate by commanding officers and other officers of the Defence Forces.
The effect of re-classification depends on the nature of the category and the soldier or officer’s position. Persons training to be officers may be unable to obtain the relevant grade. A person may be ineligible for certain categories of service, including service overseas. Eligibility for extension of service and re-engagement may be restricted.
Certain reclassifications have serious consequences for the member’s future. Because of the fact that reclassification may have an adverse effect on the career of a Defence Forces member, Constitutional fair procedures are required.
They must be informed of the re-classification given the opportunity to make representations before it becomes final. He may have his own medical or legal representative for the purpose of making representations. He is to be given copies of the medical documents.
Court of Inquiry
Courts of Inquiry are constituted by officers for the purpose of enquiring it in matters referred to them to make a finding or declaration. The Court of Inquiry may examine into matters relevant to conduct and service.
They may inquire into accidents involving weapons, where persons or animals are injured or property is damaged, outbreaks of fire, explosions, damage to property, accidents in which a person subject to military law are involved and the maiming or injury of a person, who is subject to military law, whether on or off duty. There are exemptions and cases where it is only held if directed.
The court comprising officers is made up president and members or assessors, unless otherwise required by regulation. The authority may order the attendance of persons subject to military law. Documents in military custody may be produced. An inquest may take place into the death of a person.
There are normally three members in the Court of Inquiry. Membership will depend on the subject matter. A civilian with the necessary technical qualifications may advise the court on technical questions. The court acts by majority. Dissenting members may make a dissenting finding.
The purpose of a Court of Inquiry is to determine the truth of the matter under investigation. The court does not express an opinion on the conduct of a person subject to military law unless required to do so by the authority which convened it.
Court of Inquiry Proceedings
Evidence is unsworn unless otherwise directed. It should be recorded in writing. Persons not subject to military law may be the subject of an order for attendance by the convening authority.
The principles of constitutional justice apply to the proceedings of a Court of Inquiry, subject to qualifications and limitations.
The convening authority reviews the proceedings and signifies its agreement or otherwise with the finding. The convening authority may direct the court to reassemble and take further evidence, review its decision or make new or further findings.
The proceedings of courts of inquiry including confessions and admissions made are not admissible in evidence against a person subject to military law other than on a trial for perjury. Findings of the court are not admissible as evidence. They are treated as confidential.