An SAS soldier has been fined $4700 at a court martial in
Auckland this afternoon for stealing service property, but
can remain in the Army.
Judge Christopher Hodson imposed the sentence at Papakura
Military Camp this afternoon.
The 29-year-old, who can not be identified, was found guilty
of stealing two JPoint sights and a charging handle for a
military rifle, which he had offered for sale at an Auckland
He was also found guilty of unlawful possession of 11 thunder
flashes which were found in his garage.
The soldier had previously admitted to the court martial at
Papakura Military Camp to failing to follow written orders by
storing a privately-owned gun in his barracks room, but
denied the other allegations.
He was found not guilty of stealing a pistol holder, unlawful
possession of Semtex explosive and unlawful possession of
Judge Hodson said had the soldier been convicted of
unlawfully possessing the Semtex explosive, he may have been
dismissed from service.
Making submissions ahead of the sentencing, the soldier told
the court that his life had been "hell" since the
"I even felt remorse for even joining the Army ... just to be
treated like this, in this manner."
As a result he had spent long periods confined to his
barracks and was eventually assigned to small central North
Island outpost, where he had no job description and took
instruction from civilians.
"I was kind of hating life," he said.
"It also made some pretty big gaps between me and my comrades
with all the rumours going around without facts to back them
Furthermore, it had made it difficult for him to fulfil his
parental responsibilities to his child because he did not
have a fixed address.
Prosecutor Major Peter Brock said the man should be sentenced
to detention and dismissed from service.
"... This unit requires high standards and in this offending
[the man] has fallen short of those high standards."
Defence lawyer Melinda Mason said the hardship he had already
suffered should be taken into account when imposing sentence.
"He has served his country on a number of occasions and been
on tours constantly. He is a person that we should be
grateful to have in the Defence Force."
He had previously been described as an "exemplary soldier".
- By Matthew Theunissen of APNZ