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Proof lies on him who asserts, not on him who denies. The concept is that one is innocent until proven guilty. Regardless of what the law says about reasonable doubt, there is an unwritten presumption within the ranks of the military that if you are charged with sexual assault, then you are guilty. The stakes are your life! Your military counsel works for the same military that charged you. Consider that as you choose who represents you in your potentially life altering case.

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Article 119 Manslaughter

Under this article, service members who have killed someone in a fit of passion arising from provocation, or while committing another offense or by negligence are given due punishment as determined through a court martial process. Knowledge that the victim was aged below 16 years is not an element of these offenses. Different situations are covered under Article 119 and their critical components are as follows:

a)Voluntary manslaughter

Elements:

  • That a specified person is dead .
  • That this death was the result of an act/or the failure to act on part of the accused in a specific way at a specified time and place .
  • That this killing was unlawful .
  • That when the offense was committed the intention of the accused was to inflict grievous bodily harm or death on the victim.
  • That the victim was aged under 16 years.

Note: The killing is unlawful when there is no legal justification to support it. The prosecution need not prove that the accused acted with sudden passion. This article may not apply when the voluntary manslaughter is the less included offense.

Maximum Punishment: Maximum punishment varies in line with the victim's age. When the offense is perpetrated on a child under 16, the accused faces maximum punishment of dishonorable discharge, forfeiture of all pay and allowances and 20 years confinement. In other cases, confinement of 15 years, dishonorable discharge and forfeiture of all pay and allowances is maximum punishment.

b) Culpable negligence resulting in involuntary manslaughter

Elements:

  • That a specified person is dead .
  • That this death was the result of an act/or the failure to act on part of the accused in a specific way at a specified time and place .
  • That this act or failure to act constitutes culpable negligence .
  • That this killing was unlawful .
  • That when the offense was committed the intention of the accused was to inflict grievous bodily harm or death on the victim.
  • That the victim was aged under 16 years.

Note: 'Culpable negligence' indicates that the accused was more careless than a person guilty of simple negligence (which is absence of due care). The accused can be proven guilty only if the prosecution can establish that he demonstrated gross, wanton, reckless or deliberate disregard for the foreseeable consequences of his action to others.

Maximum Punishment: Maximum punishment varies in line with the victim's age. When the offense is perpetrated on a child under 16, the accused faces maximum punishment of dishonorable discharge, forfeiture of all pay and allowances and 15 years confinement. In other cases, confinement of 10 years, dishonorable discharge and forfeiture of all pay and allowances is maximum punishment.

c)Involuntary manslaughter that is a result of committing or trying to commit certain offenses

Elements:

  • That a specified person is dead .
  • That this death was the result of an act/or the failure to act on part of the accused in a specific way at a specified time and place .
  • That this act or failure to act resulting in the manslaughter occurred while the accused was attempting to commit an offense or committing an offense affecting the victim. The offense could be assault, battery, maiming, false imprisonment or other.
  • That this killing was unlawful .
  • That the victim was aged under 16 years.

Note: The prosecution must establish beyond doubt that the accused was committing or attempting to commit the specified offense. The phrase 'directly affecting the victim' does not refer to sodomy, aggravated arson, burglary, robbery, rape, aggravated sexual assault (of adult/ child), rape of a child, aggravated sexual contact, aggravated sexual contact/ sexual abuse of a child.

Maximum Punishment: Maximum punishment varies in line with the victim's age. When the offense is perpetrated on a child under 16, the accused faces maximum punishment of dishonorable discharge, forfeiture of all pay and allowances and 15 years confinement. In other cases, confinement of 10 years, dishonorable discharge and forfeiture of all pay and allowances is maximum punishment. For more information on this article, please refer to the Manual for Courts Martial.

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