Army closes Hackney recruitment centre – for now

A controversial Army recruitment office has closed just two years after it opened amidst protests by anti war and gun campaigners.

The state of the art recruitment shop in Kingsland Shopping Centre boasted a virtual battlefield simulator which gave visitors he chance to use their friends as target practice with a replica handgun.

The centre was one of three pilots with others in Hounslow, west London and Maidstone in Kent.

At the time Lucy Cope the founder of Mothers Against Guns said it was insensitive to house the showroom in a borough where lives had been blighted by gun crime.

Campaigners from Hackney Stop the War had also pledged to shut the showroom down. They accused the Army of exploiting youth unemployment in Hackney in a bid to recruit people from poor areas with fewer career options.

They occupied the showroom at Kingsland High Street as part of their protest and two people were arrested and later acquitted of alleged offences.

An Army spokeswoman has stressed that the closure is temporary and is due to health and safety reasons so the office can be refurbished.

There is a leak in the roof at the showroom.

She said: “We are taking the opportunity during the repairs to have a look at what we have got in the showroom and moving them around.… Read more

Court martial for Navy medic conscientious objector

A medic in the Royal Navy will face court martial on Monday 4 July despite declaring that he is a conscientious objector.

A medic in the Royal Navy will face court martial on Monday 4 July despite declaring that he is a conscientious objector.

Michael Lyons has been charged with “wilful disobedience” because he asked not to participate in rifle training last September after having applied for conscientious objector status.

Lyons could face up to ten years’ imprisonment if convicted.

At a hearing in May, Michael Lyons’ lawyer argued that because Mr Lyons had already declared a conscientious objection at the time of the training, the command for him to participate in it was unlawful. Although Mr Lyons had not been required to handle a weapon since 2005 he was asked to do so when it was known that he had applied for discharge as a conscientious objector.

His lawyer further argued that if Mr Lyons had taken part in the rifle training without protest it would have discredited his claim as a conscientious objector and it was simply something he was unable to do.

Mr Lyons’ defence are also concerned that there could be a perception that the judge in this case is not impartial as he acted as senior prosecutor in a similar case.… Read more