The decision in Rex v. Hayes may be of interest to those serving in the UK, and to legal advisors.
1. The Defendant has been charged with an offence of causing death by careless driving on the 26th of August 2022.
The NATO SOFA gives the visiting state
primary  to jurisdiction as regards offences ‘arising out of any act or omission done in the performance of official duty’ lies with the sending state[,]
The visiting state must file an appropriate official duty certificate, which ensued here from the Air Force.
The prosecution challenged the certificate given on behalf of Hayes.
The judge notes the Air Force was given the opportunity to participate in the hearing but did not do so--I wonder why. From my overseas assignments I learned that it was policy to do everything possible to get U.S. jurisdiction, even where the SOFA said primary jurisdiction is with the host nation.
[A] certificate issued by or on behalf of the appropriate authority of the sending country, stating that the alleged offence, if committed by him, arose out of and in the course of his duty as a member of that force or component, as the case may be, shall in any such proceedings as aforesaid be sufficient evidence of that fact unless the contrary is proved.
Oh, what did the judge decide about jurisdiction. Well, examining the evidence the judge holds that the certificate is rebutted. Driving home from work in PT gear, coming from PT was not in the course of official duty, thus Hayes is subject to UK prosecution.
We thank Brigadier (Ret) Paphiti at Aspals for bringing this case to our attention.
Disclaimer: Posts are the authors' personal opinions and do not reflect the position of any organization or government agency.
-Current Term Opinions
Joint R. App. Pro.
Army Crim. L. Deskbook