Defence Act 1954
Court of inquiry on absent man.
174.— (1) When a man of the Permanent Defence Force has been absent without leave from his duty for a period of twenty-one days, a court of inquiry in relation to such man may as soon as practicable be assembled.
(2) When any man of the Reserve Defence Force is subject to military law by reason of his being called out on permanent service or in aid of the civil power or for annual training and is illegally absent from duty, a court of inquiry in relation to such man may be assembled after the expiration of twenty-one days from the date of such absence, whether the period during which such man was subject to military law is or is not less than twenty-one days or has or has not expired before the expiration of twenty-one days from the date of such absence.
(3) Where a court of inquiry in relation to a man is assembled under subsection (1) or (2) of this section, the following provisions shall have effect—
( a) the court shall inquire in the prescribed manner on oath or solemn declaration (which any member of such court is hereby authorised to administer) respecting the absence of such man and the deficiency (if any) in his arms, ammunition, equipment, instruments, service necessaries and clothing,
( b) if the court is satisfied that such man has absented himself without leave or other sufficient cause, the following provisions shall have effect, that is to say:—
(i) the court shall declare such absence and the period thereof, and the said deficiency (if any);
(ii) a record of such declaration shall be entered by his commanding officer in the service books;
(iii) in case such man is a man of the Permanent Defence Force or a man of the Reserve Defence Force called out on permanent service, such record shall, if such man does not afterwards surrender or is not apprehended, have the legal effect of a conviction by court-martial for desertion.