Burnham court martial: Senior soldier denies groping allegations

Royal New Zealand Army Medical Corps staff sergeant Jeremy Leslie Boyd denies charges and stands...
Royal New Zealand Army Medical Corps staff sergeant Jeremy Leslie Boyd denies charges and stands trial at a court martial at Burnham Military Camp. Photo: George Heard
A New Zealand Defence Force soldier is facing court martial for indecent assault after allegedly groping a junior subordinate at a function.

Royal New Zealand Army Medical Corps staff sergeant Jeremy Leslie Boyd is accused of a September 22, 2016 indecent assault at Burnham Military Camp, 30km south of Christchurch.

The senior non-commissioned officer has been charged under the Crimes Act 1961 – with an alternative accusation of common assault.

Boyd also faces a charge of failing to comply with written orders contrary to the Armed Forces Discipline Act 1971, which alleges that at Burnham Military Camp on December 5, 2018 he failed to set an example of good conduct by saying to a junior subordinate, "this is my last chance to get you wasted, corporals are my cut off", or words to that effect.

That also has an alternative charge, of "doing an act likely to prejudice service discipline" contrary to the Armed Forces Discipline Act 1971, again at Burnham, more than two years later, on December 5, 2018.

The soldier denies the charges and a court martial began at Burnham this morning.

The trial is expected to take up to three days.

Boyd is not currently based at Burnham, the NZDF says.

Family and friends supported him at the hearing today.

Military prosecutor sub lieutenant Natacha Wisstt said the case involved Boyd acting in a sexually inappropriate manner towards a junior subordinate.

The court martial is being held at Burnham Military Camp outside Christchurch. Photo: George Heard
The court martial is being held at Burnham Military Camp outside Christchurch. Photo: George Heard
Boyd is alleged to have told her in a computer room in 2015, "I so want to grab your arse right now but I know I shouldn't".

On September 22, 2016 they were both at a function farewelling a civilian member of the unit.

After a formal dinner, they moved to the warrant officers and sergeants mess bar.

It is alleged that when she was playing pool, Boyd approached her and squeezed her breast for few seconds, made eye contact, and then went away.

A second allegation came on December 5, 2018 at another function in the same officers' mess.

She was standing at a table when Boyd is alleged to have approached her with a drink he bought her.

He is said to have congratulated her on a recent promotion.

They consumed the drink and Boyd allegedly told her, "This is my last chance to get you wasted, corporals are my cut off".

Wisstt said it is alleged that Boyd used "force" towards the victim.

Boyd's lawyer Elizabeth Bulger said he denies all charges, saying there was no assault, indecent or otherwise.

Boyd says the allegation of indecent assault is "a fabrication, for reasons best known to the complainant".

Referring to the 2018 allegation, he says she has "at best misinterpreted" his comments, or even deliberately misinterpreted the conversation to make it sound sleazy and crass. He had merely been trying to offer career advice to a junior subordinate, Bulger says.

Boyd is expected to give evidence during the trial and will deny making any sexual comments towards the alleged victim or making any physical contact with her.

The court martial, before Judge Kevin Riordan, continues.

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