Soldier loses appeal to get job back after fraud conviction

A MENTALLY ill soldier whose career was ended when he was caught fraudulently using his colleagues' bank accounts has lost an appeal against his punishment.

Cosmus Mastus Cupid was a lance corporal in 3 Mercian and based in Tidworth, Wiltshire, when he betrayed his comrades' trust by interfering with their accounts.

The previously respected soldier had been struggling with his mental health and was being subjected to a cruel blackmail at the time he committed the offences.

Taking advantage of telephone access to accounts, he used others' cash to cover his rent, to buy a flight ticket and to pay for a hotel room, among other things.

He was eventually caught out and, after he admitted 16 counts of fraud at a court martial in 2012, was given a suspended sentence and dismissed from the Army.

Today, he took his case to the Court of Appeal in a bid to overturn the order kicking him out of his job, but saw his case rejected by three of the country's top judges.

Lady Justice Macur said it was a "sad state of affairs", since Cupid had struggled with mental illness.

Appealing today, his lawyers argued that a psychiatric report should have been provided prior to sentencing and that, if it had, he would be unlikely to have been dismissed.

That would mean he be able to access the help of specialist services to help him deal with his mental health problems.

But giving judgment, Lady Justice Macur, who heard the appeal with Mr Justice Bean and Mr Justice Phillips, rejected the argument.

"This was an offence or series of offences which were substantially mitigated by reason of the mental illness, past and present, of the appellant," said the judge.

"Nevertheless, those particular aspects of mitigation were not sufficient to absolve this appellant from responsibility for a course of conduct which would necessarily undermine trust.

"The question of dismissal is one for the Ministry of Defence, advised by the court martial. "We see no reason why this court, in the circumstances of this case, should interfere with such a sentence."

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