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Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Defence Forces instructor found guilty of sexually assaulting female recruit during first-aid demonstration

A Defence Forces instructor has been found guilty of sexually assaulting a female recruit during a first-aid demonstration.

The instructor, who cannot be named to protect the identity of the victim, was found guilty of sexual assault before a military court after cupping the breast of the recruit.

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The non-commissioned officer was also found guilty of conduct prejudicial to good order and discipline contrary to Section 168 of the Defence Act 1954 after placing his groin into the back of his victim during the same demonstration while making the remark, “I would not stand like that as it looks wrong.”

He was found not guilty of a similar charge for making the remark; “She has certainly done that before” while a recruit pretended to remove a mannequin during the same session.

The soldier had pleaded not guilty to all charges against him.

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He also denies doing anything inappropriate or sexual, with his legal team stating that some of the physical contact between himself and the recruit was necessary for the purposes of demonstrating certain techniques.

However, several witnesses stated that he kept his hands on the recruit’s breast for an unnecessarily long period of time.

Col Campion said in his ruling that there had been a direct conflict of evidence but found the victim to be a “credible and reliable witness”.

He added that it was not credible that the soldier left his hand in an intimate area by accident while adding that sexually suggestive comments were also made during the demonstration.

The soldier was ordered to appear before a pre-sentencing court-martial hearing next month.

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