Today at the Royal Courts of inJustice Michael Lyons was unsuccessful in overturning his conviction for refusing to carry out rifle training in preparation for deployment to Afghanistan. He was also unsuccessful in arguing that his seven month sentence was excessive.
The judges sided with The Navy opinion that Michael Lyons was required to carry out rifle training even though he had applied for conscientious Objector status. I am certain that if Michael had carried out the rifle training The Navy would have used that against him in his appeal.
The judges sided with The Navy view that the charge was aggravated because someone else deployed to Afghanistan in place of Michael. That someone else did not have a moral objection to the war in Afghanistan.
It was noted that Michael’s Commanding Officer had supported his application. It was an advisory panel which had never met Michael that decided to reject his application.
Through this whole affair Michael has acted in a calm and polite manner. He has been consistent throughout. He could have gone AWOL, or taken drugs, or feigned injury to avoid being deployed to Afghanistan. He did none of these things. He told his superiors that he wanted to be discharged as a conscientious objector and stuck to his position.
Michael’s fate has been decided by officers and judges with no combat experience (firing missiles from a ship hundreds of miles away from any danger into Afghanistan, Iraq or Libya is not combat it is manslaughter). They wanted Michael to deploy to a patrol base in Afghanistan whilst they sat behind desks rattling their sabres.