ARMY OFFICERS appeared in court yesterday over allegations of abuse including ordering teenage recruits to eat faeces.
The 10 defendants, who were all instructors at the Army Foundation College in Harrogate, pleaded not guilty to a list of charges.
They included spitting in recruits’ faces, punching them, forcing their heads under water, squeezing their throats and pushing animal faeces into their faces.
Six more defendants will appear before the court martial today.
Reading one of the charges, presiding Assistant Judge Advocate Alan Large said that one of the defendants “intentionally or recklessly ill-treated men of inferior rank by ordering them to eat animal manure.”
Symon Hill, spokesman for the Peace Pledge Union, told the Star that he was questioned about his presence in the court and the organisation he works for despite the proceedings being open to the public.
“Allegations of this sort are not unusual. What’s unusual is that they have come to court,” he said.
A four-week trial has been set for next February, which Mr Hill said would be “the biggest ever trial relating to the abuse of young recruits in the British army.”
But he questioned the independence of the hearing, warning that the trial will take place “in the army’s own court at a military base in the middle of rural Wiltshire.
“Even when the army sticks to the law, army training is brutal and abusive. This is what the army does. This is what the army is.
“It’s an institution that brutalises vulnerable teenagers so that they will do appalling things to other human beings without question.”