A soldier who ‘deserted’ the Army for nearly two years has been convicted of breaching a court order.
Curtis Greenfield, of Lancaster Avenue, Accrington, was given a community order with 180 hours unpaid work by the Catterick Military Court in October last year for an offence of desertion.
Burnley Crown Court heard how the 23-year-old breached the order by failing to attend unpaid work appointments and failing to keep in contact with his probation officer.
Greenfield pleaded guilty to breaching the community order and was given a 12-month conditional discharge and ordered to pay a £150 criminal courts charge.
David Traynor, prosecuting, told the court how Greenfield was ‘absent’ from the Army between June 2012 and May 2014.
He told the court that the defendant had failed to attend appointments on May 3 and May 10 and had only completed 72.5 hours of the 180 hours unpaid work.
Mr Traynor said Greenfield had also attended 14 out of 23 appointments ‘with the other absences being acceptable’.
He told the court: “Probation have tried to assist him by putting him in contact with a charity called Salute but the defendant did not take up that opportunity.”
Robert Elias, defending, said ‘he is not the sort of person probation is designed for’.
He told the court: “It is difficult in this case as he is not a criminal in the sense that your honour deals with day in, day out.
“He didn’t get on with the Army and deserted for such a period of time that when he came back the Army didn’t want to keep him.
“If they had wanted to keep him in the Army he would’ve been dealt with in an internal way and he would’ve resumed his military career.
“They took the view that a civil punishment was appropriate outside of the Army.”
Judge Beverley Lunt said Greenfield had ‘no criminal lifestyle’ and ‘no criminal record’.
Sentencing, she said: “You have done 72.5 hours. It’s not great but at least you’ve done it.
“There’s an awful lot going on in your life and it’s all got to be sorted out.
“You are not a criminal, you are not a danger to the locality of Accrington, I don’t need to do something to keep you out of trouble.
“You have not resorted to any sort of crime. This is a very peculiar set of circumstances.”