AWOL soldier loses sentence appeal

A soldier who went absent without leave as he was about to be deployed to Afghanistan lost a Court of Appeal challenge against his nine-month sentence today.

Joe Glenton, from York, who was handed the custodial term and demoted to private from lance corporal after admitting the Awol charge at a court martial last month, was present for the ruling by the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Judge, and two other judges in London.

The military court in Colchester, Essex, heard Glenton was discovered missing on June 11 2007 and was absent for 737 days before handing himself in.

The 27-year-old had performed a seven-month tour of duty in Afghanistan in 2006, serving with the Royal Logistic Corps. The judges heard that he was promoted to lance coroporal because of the "exemplary" way he carried out his duties during that operation.

Glenton, who has so far served 75 days of his sentence, said he suffered from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after his first stint in the war zone.

It was argued on his behalf today that because of a diagnosis of PTSD it had been "wrong in principle" to have imposed an immediate custodial sentence on him. The court was urged to either suspend it or reduce it to allow for his release.

But the judges, sitting in London, ruled that his sentence was neither excessive nor wrong in principle.

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