Case Studies

All examples have been anonymised where appropriate and are real cases taken from the Director’s current or former cases.

  • Mary's Story

    A soldier, Mary, reported being raped by a male soldier in her chain of command. The soldier she accused was acquitted at trial. However, Mary wanted to lodge a service complaint concerning the sustained sexual harassment she had suffered at the hands of the soldier before the alleged assault and the way in which her chain of command had treated her after her report of rape and while she waited for her case to come to court.  Her service complaint was dismissed at the first stage but upheld almost entirely on appeal. A formal apology was offered, compensation was paid and it was accepted that the response of the Army to the entire situation had cost Mary her extremely promising career.

  • Sarah's Story

    A soldier, Sarah, reported being sexually assaulted by a male soldier in her unit. The Service Police did not conduct an adequate investigation in several respects. This included the proposal, by the Royal Military Police, that Sarah agree to the alleged assailant admitting to the lesser charge of common assault, rather than the sexual assault with which he had been charged. Sarah lodged a formal complaint about various aspects of the conduct of the Service Police. Her complaint was upheld and some organisational changes were made by the Service Police.

  • Anna's Story

    A soldier, Anna, reported a rape by a fellow male soldier but, following what she considered to be an inadequate service police investigation, her alleged assailant was not charged by the Service Prosecution Authority. After the SPA confirmed that it was not going to charge the alleged assailant, Anna’s commanding officer informed her that she would now be investigated under the Army’s own internal administrative procedures (known as ‘AGAI’) to determine if she had breached the so-called ‘Service Test’. This meant that she would have to undergo further interviews, investigation and other processes arising from the alleged rape and on the basis that her own conduct was now being called into question. We made representations to the commanding officer and the investigation was withdrawn. The Director is aware of this practice – of internal disciplinary investigations into women’s conduct being opened following the closure of criminal investigations into sexual offences – having happened in other cases. 

  • Joe's Story

    A former sailor, forced out of the Royal Navy because of his sexuality in 1995, was stripped of his Long Service and Good Conduct Medal and his Good Conduct Badges. Now elderly and in poor health, he asked to have them restored. Notwithstanding the lifting of the ban on LGBT people serving in the Armed Forces, the MoD refused. Judicial review proceedings were brought following which the MoD agreed to return the badges and medal, and to bring in a new policy which would allow other LGBT former service personnel to apply to have their medals restored. You can see more about his story on this BBC article

  • Lucy's Story

    A serving soldier was the victim of a sexual assault. She threatened judicial review proceedings against the MoD, challenging the statutory power of a Commanding Officer to investigate for him/herself an allegation of sexual assault and the exclusion of sexual assault from the list of alleged crimes that had to be referred to the (service) police.  Following her letter before action, the MoD agreed to amend the legislation and it is now compulsory for commanding officers to refer all allegations of sexual assault to the Service Police. 

  • Amy's Story

    A serving soldier who was the victim of sexual assault threatened judicial review proceedings against the MoD for its failure to institute a system of independent oversight of the Service Police, equivalent to the civilian system of police oversight. As a consequence of her judicial review, the MoD agreed to conduct a review of the system of service police oversight, the outcome of which is awaited.

The Director’s previous inquest cases include:

Inquest touching the death of Pte Sean Benton (Deepcut barracks). Verdict here: https://www.libertyhumanrights.org.uk/sites/default/files/BENTON%20-%20FINDINGS.pdf 

Press release here:  https://www.libertyhumanrights.org.uk/news/press-releases-and-statements/liberty-calls-civilian-police-investigate-all-military-crimes-0

Inquest touching the death of Pte Cheryl James (Deepcut barracks). Verdict here: https://digitalpressoffice.files.wordpress.com/2016/02/cj-finalconclusions.pdf

Press release here: https://www.libertyhumanrights.org.uk/news/press-releases-and-statements/cheryl-james-verdict-liberty-calls-reform-tackle-pervasive

Legal representation and advocacy support to the family of Pte James Collinson (Deepcut barracks). More information here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-49114731

Inquest touching the death of Cpl Anne-Marie Ellement. Press coverage: https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2014/mar/03/anne-marie-ellement-inquest-mod-care-vulnerable; https://www.channel4.com/news/anne-marie-ellement-inquest-suicide-bullying-rape; https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/defence/10672553/Cpl-Anne-Marie-Ellement-Army-apologises-as-coroner-finds-bullying-was-suicide-factor.html

Inquests into the deaths of Rfn Darren Mitchell and C/Cpl James Ross. Press coverage: https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/northern-ireland/army-must-do-more-to-support-soldiers-in-distress-say-families-horrified-by-ballykinler-inquest-evidence-37862853.html