Social worker report on soldier guilty of sex assault ‘had errors’

Report placed too much emphasis on death of friend and loss of relationship, court martial told

Neither the victim of the sexual assault  nor the defendant may be named to protect the identity of the victim, court martial judge Col Michael Campion ruled.

Neither the victim of the sexual assault nor the defendant may be named to protect the identity of the victim, court martial judge Col Michael Campion ruled.

Mon, Jul 14, 2014, 17:19

An Army private who sexually assaulted a fellow soldier has told a court martial there were material errors in a social worker’s report about him, which placed too much emphasis on the death of a friend and the loss of a relationship with his girlfriend.

The four-man court martial board last month found the soldier guilty on one count of sexual assault and two counts of behaviour prejudicial to good order and discipline in the Defence Forces.

The court martial was told the soldier had crouched by the bed of his victim, who was resting in her uniform in a dark room, and placed his hand on her left buttock, moving it toward her anus. The court heard she had turned, jumped up and remonstrated with him.

Neither the victim nor the defendant may be named to protect the identity of the victim, the court martial judge Col Michael Campion ruled.

At his trial the accused had claimed he had been affected by the anti-malaria drug Lariam which the Army issues to soldiers travelling to some overseas countries.

This morning, as the pre-sentence hearing was to resume, counsel for the soldier, Gareth Humphreys, said the social worker’s report submitted about his client contained errors or misunderstandings.

He told Col Campion the errors of misunderstanding related to the description of a “sudden death” of his client’s friend, when in fact the friend had taken his own life in 2006. While this was tragic, Mr Humphreys said it was a factor which had been “dealt with” by his client by the time of the sexual assault in 2010.

Mr Humphreys also told the judge he wished to take issue with reference to the soldier’s girlfriend, or former girlfriend.

Mr Humphreys said his client had dealt with the ending of the relationship with his girlfriend, again in advance of the sexual assault. He said the relationship between the soldier and this woman was quite short and not of a permanent nature.

Mr Humphreys said his client did not wish to place as much emphasis on these issues as the social worker had done. Mr Humphreys said his client linked his aberrant behaviour to difficulties he had when he returned from an overseas mission in 2009.