Page last updated at 11:56 GMT, Monday, 3 August 2009 12:56 UK

Awol accused soldier faces court

L/Cpl Joe Glenton
L/Cpl Joe Glenton outside Downing Street after delivering the letter

A serving soldier from York has appeared before a court martial after refusing to return to Afghanistan.

L/Cpl Joe Glenton, 27, of the Royal Logistic Corps, faced the preliminary hearing at a court martial in Wiltshire accused of desertion.

The soldier did not enter a formal plea but his defence counsel Hugh O'Donoghue indicated he would deny the charge.

On Thursday L/Cpl Glenton gave a letter to the prime minister calling for troops in Afghanistan to be withdrawn.

In his letter he claimed the war in Afghanistan is being fought in the interests of US foreign policy.

Expert witnesses

Having joined the Army in 2004, he went Awol in 2007 before handing himself in after two years and six days.

He has been on leave until today when he returned to his regiment.

Mr O'Donoghue told the court that he may call an expert witness to give evidence on the lawfulness of war in Afghanistan.

Military prosecutor Captain Gemma Sayer said she would also be calling witnesses, mostly sergeants, who are currently serving in Afghanistan and Kuwait.

The prosecutor said they were also considering an additional charge connected to the alleged desertion and that L/Cpl Glenton would be interviewed by military police.

Judge Advocate Alastair McGrigor adjourned the case to 4 September for another preliminary hearing.

L/Cpl Glenton will now return to normal duties with his regiment at his base in Abingdon, Oxfordshire.



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SEE ALSO
Soldier takes war protest to PM
30 Jul 09 |  North Yorkshire
L/Cpl Joe Glenton's letter to the PM
30 Jul 09 |  North Yorkshire

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