05/07/2011 - A Royal Navy medic was jailed for seven months today after he refused to draw a gun because he disagreed with the war in Afghanistan.
Leading Medical Advisor Michael Lyons disobeyed the order by an officer to pick up an SA80 as part of rifle training on the grounds that it was 'against his moral beliefs.'
Lyons, 25, told a court martial he became disillusioned with the service after reading about troops killing civilians on whistle-blowing website Wikileaks.
He had already applied for, but had been denied, conscientious objector status when he was ordered to undertake the rifle training before a tour to Afghanistan.
Lyons was due to begin a two-week rifle course at HMS Excellent, a shore base in Portsmouth, last September but requested to be re-listed in a non-combative role.
On arrival he claimed it was his right not to take part in any combat training while he appealed the decision not to grant him conscientious objector status.
A panel of five Naval officers at a court martial at HMS Nelson, in Portsmouth, Hampshire, today found Lyons guilty of wilfully disobeying a lawful order.
Lyons, who joined the Navy at 18 and denied the charge, was only the third sailor in history to use conscientious objector as a defence at court martial.
He was demoted to the rank of Able Seaman, dismissed from the service and sentenced to seven months at the Colchester Military Corrective Training Centre in Essex.
He said: ‘My initial objections started with Afghanistan and I wanted to investigate the reasons why we were at war.
‘At the time Wikileaks came along and mentioned about Iraq and Afghanistan.
‘The reports said there had been some civilian casualties that nobody knew about and they were being covered up.
‘After a lot of deliberation I decided I was a conscientious objector.'