Navy sailor sentenced to two years in military detention for sexual assault


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The Royal New Zealand Navy sailor was sentenced after a court martial at Devonport Naval Base this week.

Caroline Williams / Stuff

The Royal New Zealand Navy sailor was sentenced after a court martial at Devonport Naval Base this week.

A Navy sailor who sexually assaulted three of his shipmates while serving in Canada has been sentenced to two years in military detention.

The 27-year-old sailor, whose name has been deleted on an interim basis, was convicted of raping and sexually assaulting three of his female colleagues during a court martial held at Naval Base Devonport on the north coast of Auckland this week.

The offense took place in August 2020, while the sailors were on duty aboard warships HMNZS Te Kaha and Te Mana in Canada, but the offense took place ashore.

The sailor grabbed one of his colleague’s breasts in the back of a cab as the couple returned to base after a group outing to a restaurant in downtown Victoria, B.C. on 2 August 2020.

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Then, in the early hours of August 9, the man went from colleague to colleague as they slept in a rented apartment following a party, indecently assaulting one by kissing and touching her intimately, and by sexually raping another.

Both women told the accused to stop, but he did not.

On Saturday, Judge Kevin Riordan sentenced the man to two years in the Correctional Establishment Service (SCE).

He was also made redundant from the Navy.

The court martial monitors cases where a breach of service discipline or other offenses may have occurred.

Caroline Williams / Stuff

The court martial monitors cases where a breach of service discipline or other offenses may have occurred.

Navy Chief Rear Admiral David Proctor said the sailor had “caused significant harm to his victims and brought discredit to the Royal New Zealand Navy”.

Earlier in the week, prosecutor Captain Grace Blanks said the case concerned a “lack of camaraderie” as the man represented the New Zealand Defense Force.

“[It is about] a fundamental betrayal of the trust and respect that the men and women who serve in a modern defense force should have in one another.

The three victims verbally vouched for this and physically resisted him, she said.

The man’s first victim said she fought over whether to report the assault in the back of a taxi to her supervisor, which she ultimately did about a month later .

She feared the man would do the same, or worse, to someone else if she didn’t.

Those fears materialized a week later when the man assaulted two other women, both intoxicated, hours apart as they slept after a party.

One of the women said she was “empty” and “trying not to throw up” when the assault took place.

The other described telling him “no, no, no” before giving up and waiting for him to finish.

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