Soldier dismissed from service following N Bomb charges

By Alecia Rousseau -
Private Luke Brame has pleaded guilty to supplying drugs. Photo / Manawatu Guardian
Private Luke Brame has pleaded guilty to supplying drugs. Photo / Manawatu Guardian

A Linton soldier will spend 90 days in a detention centre before being dismissed from service after pleading guilty to supplying an illegal hallucinogenic.

Private Luke Brame, 22, was convicted of three charges relating to committing an act contrary to the Armed Forces Discipline Act and Psychoactive Substances Act 2013.

Judge Anne Gaskill said the agreed facts were that on October 24 last year Pvt Brame and a group of fellow soldiers went to house party in Palmerston North.

While there Pvt Brame suggested buying some synthetic MDMA. One soldier declined but the others were "willing to take you up" on the offer.

She said Pvt Brame then arranged to meet an associate he knew would be able to sell the group some caps.

Pvt Brame collected payment from the fellow soldiers before they headed into The Daily nightclub.

It was there they met the dealer who supplied Pvt Brame with several capsules of what was assumed to be synthetic MDMA. However this turned out to be the illegal substance often to referred to a N Bomb.

The soldiers consumed the drug and within 10 to 15 minutes began displaying troubled behaviour.

The police were called and all of the men were taken into custody before being medically checked.

Judge Gaskill said the men demonstrated violent, aggressive behaviour with some needing to be physically restrained "to stop harm to themselves and others".

When sentencing she said various matters needed to be considered but Pvt Brame had to be held accountable.

These included the gravity of his offending and the effect it has had on those who consumed the drug with him.

Five of the soldiers have been discharged from service while two others are awaiting a court martial.

"You were the instigator of this offending," she said. "You were the one that had the contact who supplied...you were the person who bought the substance...and those all go to establishing you have a high degree of culpability."

She compared N Bomb to LSD and said the drugs had the same functionality.

"You caused significant harm to those you supplied, and that includes putting their health and potentially their life at risk."

All of the men had extreme reactions and an aggravating feature was that all men were members of the New Zealand Defence Force.

"...your offending is grave when taken in a military context."

Judge Gaskill said the court accepted the offending was a one-off, that it was not in the grounds of the Linton Military Camp and none of the offenders were on duty.

She also said letters were provided by Pvt Brame's partner, his general practitioner and his mother.

"Your partner has written a letter of support...she showed incredible insight and thoughtfulness. You are lucky to have a partner who will stand by you."

Pvt Brame's mother who had travelled from Auckland broke down during proceedings.

Pvt Brame joined the army four years ago and has completed two-third of his mechanics apprenticeship.

Judge Gaskill said this should be a healthy springboard to life as a civilian.

She described his performance as a soldier as less than average but acknowledged Pvt Brame has accepted he has a problem with alcohol.

Pvt Brame has attended counseling in relation to this and will continue seeking help.

Pvt Brame was also asked to move his family out of the army housing area, which he has done.

Judge Gaskill said the court was of the view that it was neither tolerable or realistic for the defence force to retain his services.

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