Armed Forces Act 1986

JurisdictionUK Non-devolved
Citation1986 c. 21


Armed Forces Act 1986

1980 CHAPTER 21

An Act to continue the Army Act 1955, the Air Force Act 1955 and the Naval Discipline Act 1957 and to amend those Acts and the Armed Forces Act 1976 and the Armed Forces Act 1981.

[26th June 1986]

Be it enacted by the Queen's most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:—

I Continuance of Services Acts

Part I

Continuance of Services Acts

S-1 Continuance of Services Acts.

1 Continuance of Services Acts.

(1) The 1955 Acts and the 1957 Act shall, instead of expiring on 31st August 1986, continue in force until 31st August 1987, and shall then expire unless continued in force in accordance with the following provisions of this section.

(2) Subject to subsection (3) below, Her Majesty may from time to time by Order in Council provide for the 1955 Acts and the 1957 Act to continue in force for a period not exceeding twelve months beyond the day on which they would otherwise expire.

(3) No Order in Council shall be made under subsection (2) above so as to continue the 1955 Acts and the 1957 Act beyond the end of the year 1991.

(4) No recommendation shall be made to Her Majesty in Council to make an Order under subsection (2) above unless a draft thereof has been laid before Parliament and approved by resolution of each House of Parliament.

II Amendments of Services Acts etc.

Part II

Amendments of Services Acts etc.

Offences

Offences

S-2 Interference etc. with equipment, messages or signals.

2 Interference etc. with equipment, messages or signals.

(1) After section 44A of the Army Act 1955 (damage to and loss of Her Majesty's aircraft or aircraft material) there shall be inserted the following section—

S-44B

44B ‘Interference etc. with equipment, messages or signals.

(1) Any person subject to military law who by any conduct of his—

(a ) intentionally impairs the efficiency or effectiveness of any equipment which is public or service property; or

(b ) intentionally interferes with or modifies any message or other signal which is being transmitted, by means of a telecommunication system, directly or indirectly to or from any such equipment,

shall, on conviction by court-martial, be liable to imprisonment or any less punishment provided by this Act.

(2) Any person subject to military law who is guilty of any conduct which is likely to have the effect—

(a ) of impairing the efficiency or effectiveness of any such equipment; or

(b ) of interfering with or modifying any such message or signal,

shall (whether or not that conduct has that effect) be liable, on conviction by court-martial, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years or any less punishment provided by this Act.

(3) It shall be a defence for a person charged with an offence under subsection (2) of this section in respect of any conduct likely to have a particular effect that, in the circumstances, his conduct was in all respects consistent with the exercise of reasonable care to avoid producing that effect.

(4) For the purposes of this section the efficiency or effectiveness of any equipment is impaired if, whether or not it is damaged, the equipment is made temporarily or permanently less efficient or effective either for all purposes or for a particular purpose for which it has been designed, adapted, adjusted or programmed.

(5) In this section—

'conduct' includes any act or omission;

'equipment' includes any apparatus, any computer and any vessel, aircraft or vehicle; and

'telecommunication system' has the same meaning as in the Telecommunications Act 1984 .’

(2) The provisions set out in subsection (1) above shall also be inserted after section 44A of the Air Force Act 1955 and, as section 29B, after section 29A of the 1957 Act, but as if—

(a ) in those provisions, as inserted in the Air Force Act 1955, for the words ‘military law’, in each place where they occur, there were substituted the words ‘air-force law’; and

(b ) in those provisions, as inserted in the 1957 Act—

(i) for the words ‘military law’, in each place where they occur, there were substituted the words ‘this Act’;

(ii) the words ‘on conviction by court-martial’, in each place where they occur, were omitted; and

(iii) for the words ‘punishment provided’, in each place where they occur, there were substituted the words ‘punishment authorised’.

S-3 Offences in relation to official documents.

3 Offences in relation to official documents.

(1) In section 62 of each of the 1955 Acts and in section 35 of the 1957 Act (making of false documents), for paragraphs (a ) to (c ) there shall be substituted the following paragraphs—

‘(a ) makes an official document or official record which is to his knowledge false in a material particular, or

(b ) makes in any official document or official record an entry which is to his knowledge false in a material particular, or

(c ) tampers with the whole or any part of any official document or official record (whether by altering it, destroying it, suppressing it, removing it or otherwise), or

(d ) with intent to deceive, fails to make an entry in any official document or official record,’.

(2) Each of the sections amended by subsection (1) above shall be renumbered subsection (1) of that section and after each of those provisions, as so re-numbered, there shall be inserted the following subsections—

(2) For the purposes of this section—

(a ) a document or record is official if it is or is likely to be made use of, in connection with the performance of his functions as such, by a person who holds office under, or is in the service of, the Crown; and

(b ) a person who has signed or otherwise adopted as his own a document or record made by another shall be treated, as well as that other, as the maker of the document or record.

(3) In this section—

'document' includes, in addition to a document in writing—

(a ) any map, plan, graph or drawing;

(b ) any photograph;

(c ) any disc, tape, sound-track or other device in which sounds or other data (not being visual images) are embodied so as to be capable (with or without the aid of some other equipment) of being reproduced therefrom; and

(d ) any film, negative, tape or other device in which one or more visual images are embodied so as to be capable as aforesaid of being reproduced therefrom;

'film' includes a microfilm; and

'record' includes any account, any information recorded otherwise than in a document by mechanical, electronic or other means and any program in a computer.’

S-4 Elimination of distinctions between certain offences.

4 Elimination of distinctions between certain offences.

(1) In sections 28(a ), 29(b(a and (2) and 65(a ) and (b ) of each of the 1955 Acts and in sections 6(b ), 11(a ), 24(a and (2) and 36A(a ) and (b ) of the 1957 Act (offences consisting in striking a person or in otherwise ill-treating him or using violence to him or force against him), the words ‘strikes or otherwise’, wherever occurring, shall be omitted.

(2) In section 69 of each of the 1955 Acts and in section 39 of the 1957 Act (conduct or neglect to the prejudice of good order and military discipline), for the words ‘of any conduct or neglect’ there shall be substituted the words ‘, whether by any act or omission or otherwise, of conduct’.

Sentence, reconsideration and limitation

Sentence, reconsideration and limitation

S-5 Maximum periods of imprisonment or detention for default in payment of fines.

5 Maximum periods of imprisonment or detention for default in payment of fines.

5. For subsection (2) of section 71B of each of the 1955 Acts and for subsection (2) of section 43B of the 1957 Act (maximum periods of imprisonment or detention for default in payment of fines) there shall be substituted the following subsection—

(2) Subject to subsections (4) and (5) below, the Table in section 31(3A) of the Powers of Criminal Courts Act 1973 (maximum periods of imprisonment for default in payment of fines etc.), as from time to time amended under section 143 of the Magistrates' Courts Act 1980 , shall have effect for the purpose of determining the maximum periods of further imprisonment or detention that may be specified under subsection (1) above for fines of the amounts set out in that Table.’

S-6 Repeal of power of reconsideration.

6 Repeal of power of reconsideration.

6. Neither section 114 of the Army Act 1955nor section 114 of the Air Force Act 1955(reconsideration of sentences of imprisonment or detention) shall apply in the case of a sentence awarded after the coming into force of this section.

S-7 Removal of three year limit for commencement of certain proceedings.

7 Removal of three year limit for commencement of certain proceedings.

(1) For subsection (1) of section 132 of each of the 1955 Acts (which, subject to any limit imposed in relation to a corresponding civil offence and to a power of the Attorney General to consent to proceedings in certain cases, imposes a three year limit on the commencement of proceedings for certain offences under the relevant service law) there shall be substituted the following subsection—

(1) Where by virtue of any enactment proceedings on indictment for any civil offence must be brought within a limited period, no...

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