Defence Act 1954

Desertion.

135

135. (1) Every person subject to military law who deserts or attempts to desert the Defence Forces is guilty of an offence against military law and shall, on conviction by court-martial, be liable to suffer,—

( a) if he commits such offence on active service, F83 [ imprisonment for life ] or any less punishment awardable by a court-martial, or

( b) if he commits such offence not on active service, in the case of a first offence, imprisonment F84 [ for any term not exceeding two years ] or any less punishment awardable by a court-martial or, in the case of a second or any subsequent offence, F85 [ imprisonment for a term not exceeding seven years ] or any less punishment awardable by a court-martial.

(2) ( a) For the purposes of this Act, a person deserts the Defence Forces—

(i) if, being on or having been warned for hazardous duty or important service F86 [ (which, for the purpose of this section, includes, but is not limited to, active service or service with a contingent or as a member despatched for service outside the State for any purpose specified in section 3 of the Defence (Amendment) Act 2006 ) ], he is absent without due authority with the intention of avoiding that duty or service, or

(ii) if, having been warned that his vessel is under sailing orders, he is absent without due authority with the intention of missing that vessel, or

(iii) if he absents himself without due authority from his unit or formation or from the place where his duty requires him to be, with the intention of not returning to that unit, formation or place, or

(iv) if he is absent without due authority from his unit or formation or from the place where his duty requires him to be and at any time during such absence forms the intention of not returning to that unit, formation or place, or

(v) if, while absent with due authority from his unit or formation or from the place where his duty requires him to be, with the intention of not returning to that unit, formation or place, he does any act or omits to do anything, the natural and probable consequence of which act or omission is to preclude his return to that unit, formation or place at the time required.

( b) For the purposes of paragraph ( a) of this subsection, a person who has been absent without authority for a continuous period of six months or more shall, unless the contrary is proved, be presumed to have had the intention of not returning to his unit or formation or the place where his duty requires him to be.

Annotations:

Amendments:

F83

Substituted (22.07.1997) by Criminal Law Act 1997 (14/1997), s. 14, sch. 2, para. 6, commenced as per s. 1.

F84

Inserted (11.07.1990) by Criminal Justice Act 1990 (16/1990), s. 7 and sch. 1, para. 4 (e), commenced on enactment.

F85

Substituted (22.07.1997) by Criminal Law Act 1997 (14/1997), s. 14, sch. 2, para. 5, commenced as per s. 1.

F86

Inserted (21.04.2007) by Defence (Amendment) Act 2007 (24/2007), s. 15, commenced as per s. 1(3).