It was a highly publicized trial due to the Young family's prominence in Manticore's political landscape, and the known animosity between Captain Young and Captain Honor Harrington, the officer whose orders he stood accused of disobeying.
An investigation was conducted in the Hancock System by the Board of Inquiry headed by Commodore Vincent Capra, the chief of staff for Task Force Hancock. Based on video recordings and witnesses' statements, the board recommended specifications against Captain Young which were laid against him by Vice Admiral Yancey Parks, commanding officer of Hancock Station.
(1) Specification the first, that on or about Wednesday, the twenty-third day of Sixth Month, Year Two Hundred and Eighty Two After Landing, while acting as commodore of Heavy Cruiser Squadron Seventeen in the System of Hancock consequent to Commodore Stephen Van Slyke's death in action, you did violate the Twenty-Third Article of War, in that you did quit the formation of Task Group Hancock-Zero-Zero-One, thereby breaking off action against the enemy, without orders so to do.
(2) Specification the second, that you did subsequently violate the Twenty-Sixth Article of War, in that you did disobey a direct order from the flagship of Task Group Hancock-Zero-Zero-One by disregarding repeated instructions to return to formation.
(3) Specification the third, that in direct consequence of the actions alleged in the first and second specifications of these charges, the integrity of the missile defense net of Task Force Hancock-Zero-Zero-One was compromised by the withdrawal of the units under your command, thereby exposing other units of the task group to concentrated enemy fire, which, in consequence of your actions, inflicted severe damage and heavy loss of life upon them.
(4) Specification the fourth, that the actions and consequences alleged in the first, second, and third specifications of these charges constitute and did result from personal cowardice.
(5) Specification the fifth, that the actions alleged in the first and second specifications of these charges constitute desertion in the face of the enemy as defined under the Fourteenth, Fifteenth, and Nineteenth Articles of War, and, as such, an act of high treason under the Articles of War and the Constitution of this Star Kingdom. (HH4)
Judge Advocate General's opinion
The Judge Advocate General's Opinion was not a compulsory element of the trial procedure. In Captain Young's trial, the RMN's Judge Advocate General, Vice Admiral Alyce Cordwainer, was asked to prepare it by the president of the court. It was as follows:
- This particular situation has never before arisen, but the precedents are clear. An officer's actions must be judged by two standards. First, by the situation which actually obtained at the moment of those actions; second, by the situation he believed obtained, based on the information available to him. [...] in fact, Admiral Sarnow had been incapacitated. By the same token, however, Lord Young was under the impression that the admiral remained in command, and that Lady Harrington, as Admiral Sarnow's flag captain, was fully empowered to give him orders. As such, his refusal to obey her repeated order to return to formation constituted defiance of his legal, acting superior to the best of his own, personal knowledge. That is the reason the specifications were written as they were. He stands charged not with disobeying Captain Harrington, his junior, but with disobeying orders from the flagship which, so far as he then knew, had every legal right to issue those orders. (HH4)
Members of the court-martial board
Drawn members of the martial court board should possess higher seniority than the officer tried. In order of seniority they were:
- Admiral of the Green White Haven – president of the board
- Admiral of the Green Theodosia Kuzak
- Admiral of the Red Sonja Hemphill
- Rear Admiral of the Green Rexford Jurgens
- Commodore Antoinette Lemaitre
- Captain (SG) Thor Simengaard
Three deputy members of the board were assigned also.
White Haven, Kuzak and Simengaard voted to have Young convicted of all charges, while Jurgens and Lemaitre wanted a full acquittal. Hemphill initially voted for acquittal on all charges as well, but when pressed by Kuzak she agreed that Young should be dismissed from the service. Accordingly, she proposed a compromise where the specifications carrying the death penalty were not sustained, but Young was nevertheless dishonorably discharged. (HH4)
(1) On the first specification of the charges, that you did violate the Twenty-Third Article of War, this court, by vote of four to two, finds you guilty as charged.
(2) On the second specification of the charges, that you did violate the Twenty-Sixth Article of War, this court, by vote of four to two, finds you guilty as charged.
(3) On the third specification of the charges, that your actions did expose other units of the task group to severe damage and casualties, this court, by vote of four to two, finds you guilty as charged.
(4) On the fourth specification of the charges, that your actions constituted and did result from personal cowardice, this court, having voted three for conviction and three for acquittal, has been unable to reach a verdict.
(5) On the fifth specification, that your actions did constitute desertion in the face of the enemy as defined by the Fourteenth, Fifteenth, and Nineteenth Articles of War, this court, having voted three for conviction and three for acquittal, has been unable to reach a verdict.
Inability to reach a verdict, does not constitute an acquittal, but the accused enjoys the presumption of innocence. Accordingly, the court has no option at this time but to dismiss the fourth and fifth specifications of the charges against you.
. . . the duty of this court, to decide the penalty which attaches to the crimes of which you stand convicted, and it is the view of a two-thirds majority of the court, irrespective of the votes on specifications four and five of the charges against you, that your conduct in course of the Battle of Hancock demonstrates a culpable negligence and lack of character which exceed any acceptable in an officer of Her Majesty's Navy. This court therefore rules, by vote of four to two, that the accused, Captain Lord Pavel Young, shall be stripped of all rank, rights, privileges, and prerogatives as a captain in the Royal Manticoran Navy and dishonorably dismissed from the Service as unfit to wear the Queen's uniform, judgment to be executed within three days of this hour. (HH4)
"I find it especially remarkable given that the grounds for his dismissal from the Service were stated in almost precisely the language which would have been used if those capital charges had been sustained."