HC Deb 22 June 1966 vol 730 cc63-4W
50. Mr. Iremonger

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what discretion is exercisable in court-martialling officers of the Royal Navy; why an officer was court-martialled and reprimanded for failing to lock up three sacks of out-of-date confidential books before jumping into the sea at night to risk his life to save others who were in danger from a floating mine; and what instruction is now given in Royal Naval training establishments on the priority officers should give to different aspects of their duty.

Mr. J. P. W. Mallalieu

Discretion to order a court-martial depends upon the facts of the case. Here the facts are that the officer's failure to secure his confidential books was not connected with hunting the mine to which the hon. Member refers. If it had been, I am sure that there would have been no court-martial. All officers are expected, and trained, to put first things first if priorities clash.