A ROYAL Navy medic who was refused conscientious objector status will begin his court-martial hearing in Portsmouth.
Michael Lyons asked to leave the navy after reading about the under-reporting of civilian casualties in Afghanistan, where he would have been stationed from this year.
He now faces 10 years in prison after refusing to take part in rifle training while his case was being considered by the Advisory Committee on Conscientious Objectors.
The 24-year-old’s attempts to be discharged failed because the committee ruled his reasons were political rather than moral, and he now stands accused of wilful disobedience by the navy.
Mr Lyons said: ‘I was unable to find a real, just and noble cause to go out but I still had a sense of duty to my country.
‘I came to the conclusion I couldn’t serve on a moral ground and I couldn’t see any political reason for being there.’
Campaigners see the court martial as the navy attempting to deter other service personnel from opposing military duty on grounds of conscience.
Emma Sangster, co-ordinator of Forces Watch, said: ‘The military couldn’t let his case succeed because it would open the floodgates to more people wanting to register as objectors.’
The preliminary hearing will be at Portsmouth Navy base on Friday, and this will be followed by a full hearing in May.