A Royal Military Police officer sacked for a “drunken brawl” at his Aldershot barracks has won an appeal against his dismissal.
The 28-year-old, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, left a colleague bruised and cut after the attack in a bathroom in April 2015.
It followed a day of heavy drinking at a bowling alley, which continued when they returned to their accommodation at Aldershot Garrison.
The officer was convicted of battery at a court martial in February last year.
He was sentenced to 60 days’ detention, reduced to the ranks and dismissed from the service.
But at the Court of Appeal on Tuesday (May 9) his sentence was quashed, meaning he could still continue in the forces - if he is wanted.
Lady Justice Hallett said: “We think it entirely appropriate that the military should decide this young man’s future.”
The court had heard that the soldier had drunk a “substantial amount of alcohol” during the day of the assault.
At the barracks, there was an “exchange of words” with a colleague and the soldier responded by throwing a flurry of punches.
Another colleague stepped in and restrained him after he had thrown three punches.
The soldier’s lawyers argued the decision to throw him out of the forces was excessive.
They said he should instead have been given a reprimand and a fine, which would have allowed him to continue his career if superior officers wanted him to remain.
Giving judgment, Lady Justice Hallett, sitting with Mrs Justice Cheema-Grubb and Mr Justice Lavender, agreed that the punishment was too tough.
“We recognise the importance of maintaining discipline, the importance of deterring drunken loutish behaviour and the importance of the highest standards expected of the Royal Military Police,” she said.
“However, in our judgment, the consequences for this officer are out of all proportion to the offence.
“Looking at the guidelines, had this offence been committed in a civilian context, the question of detention or loss of employment would seem to be highly unlikely.
“We are persuaded that the sentence imposed was manifestly excessive.”
The judges substituted a severe reprimand.