Burnham court martial: Soldier guilty of groping female subordinate

Royal New Zealand Army Medical Corps staff sergeant Jeremy Leslie Boyd denied the charges. Photo:...
Royal New Zealand Army Medical Corps staff sergeant Jeremy Leslie Boyd denied the charges. Photo: George Heard
A New Zealand Defence Force soldier has been found guilty of groping a female subordinate at a function.

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

The senior non-commissioned officer faced a court martial at Burnham Military Camp outside Christchurch after being charged under the Crimes Act 1961 – with an alternative accusation of common assault.

Boyd also faced a charge of failing to comply with written orders contrary to the Armed Forces Discipline Act 1971, which alleged 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 had 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 denied the charges but has been found guilty after two days of evidence at the court martial.

He is no longer based at Burnham, the NZDF says.

At the outset of the trial on Monday, military prosecutor sub lieutenant Natacha Wisstt said the case involved Boyd acting in a sexually inappropriate manner towards a female subordinate.

Boyd was 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".

The court martial was held at Burnham Military Camp outside Christchurch. Photo: George Heard
The court martial was held at Burnham Military Camp outside Christchurch. Photo: George Heard
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's 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's alleged that Boyd used "force" towards the victim.

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

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

Referring to the 2018 allegation, he says she had "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.

 

 

 

 

 

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