Soldier charged with espionage

A Defence Force soldier is facing charges of alleged espionage.

The New Zealand Defence Force's Director of Military Prosecutions has laid 17 charges against a soldier based in Linton, in Palmerston North.

The soldier, who has name suppression, will face a court martial.

The accused faces the following 17 charges (some of which are alternative charges):

• Four charges of espionage;

• Two charges of attempted espionage;

• Two charges of possession of an objectionable publication;

• Three charges of accessing a computer system for a dishonest purpose;

• One charge of doing an act likely to prejudice Service discipline or bring discredit on the Service;

• One charge of negligently failing to perform a duty; and

• Four charges of failing to comply with written orders.

The soldier was arrested at Linton Military base in December.

It was reported at the time that he was suspected to be a member of a far-right group.

That raised concerns that white supremacists could be infiltrating New Zealand's military.

The extremist group Wargus Christi claimed online that the arrested soldier was part of their organisation, RNZ reported. It described itself as a "martial-monastic Christian brotherhood".

In an internet chat room, members spoke about how the man was removed from the group after news of an investigation.

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