Navy officer in court charged with sexually violating his junior on a ship

By Amelia Wade

Scott Christopher Devonport Ward is on trial at the Auckland District Court on a charge sexual violation. Photo / File
Scott Christopher Devonport Ward is on trial at the Auckland District Court on a charge sexual violation. Photo / File

A junior Navy officer who alleges she was sexually violated by a superior says he pinned her down and told her: "Shh, just let it happen."

Scott Christopher Devonport Ward is on trial at the Auckland District Court on a charge sexual violation by way of an unlawful sexualconnection with a junior naval officer in October 2011.

The officers were in Wellington for official ceremonies to mark 70th anniversary of the Royal New Zealand Navy on the day of the alleged offending.

Giving evidence, the woman said she went to a relative's home in Wellington with about eight others from her training course early in the afternoon after they had finished their official duties.

They made up a concoction of alcohol, Raro sachets and Berocca which they dubbed "wolf juice" but the woman said she "didn't have a heck of a lot" because she didn't want her family member to see her drunk - she believes she had about four cups.

Later that evening they went into the city and the complainant said she had about two more drinks before returning to her cabin on a navy ship berthed in the harbour about 11pm.

Just as she was drifting off to sleep, she heard one of the watertight doors open and someone come into her room. She assumed it was her female roommate, but the person sat in a chair at the head of her bed.

"I recognised him. I smelt a lot of alcohol on his breath and I said, 'Sir, you're not supposed to be in here. You're a male. You should probably leave', and he told me it was okay."

Crown prosecutor Alysha Mcclintock alleges Ward then forced himself into the woman's bed without her consent and sexually violated her.

The woman said the offending was "really painful" and "very violent".

"I kept trying to pull away and I tried to elbow him with my left elbow but ... I was pinned. I said stop, I said no. And he said, 'Shh just let it happen. He just kept going and going."

Trapped, the woman counted in 60 second blocks to try distract herself from what was happening.

"I didn't know what else to do."

After four or five sets of 60 seconds, another officer from the woman's course came into the cabin. The pair had been dating casually for the previous few months.
The woman told the court Ward recoiled and let her go so she leaped out of the bed.

The other officer started kissing the woman on the lips.

"I let him because in the grand scheme of things he was a safe person and I wanted to be away from the bed."

Ward then left the cabin, saying something along the lines of "I'll leave you two together then".

She told the other officer to leave, then had a shower and changed her sheets because she wanted to feel clean.

The next morning, the woman saw Ward at breakfast but avoided him and decided she didn't want to report what had happened because she feared for her career.

"He could have me kicked off the ship."

She saw Ward again at a party in 2012 where he apologised to her two or three times but she said she just wanted to put it behind her and pretend nothing had happened.

However, after speaking to counsellors in 2014, the woman realised it still affected her and needed to deal with it so reported the violation to the police.

In his opening address, Ward's lawyer Anthony Rogers said there was a dispute between the woman and the defendant about what happened that night and told the jury they had to decide whether the superior officer "honestly believed" consent had been given.

He told the jury it was up to them to decide "who's telling the truth".

The trial continues and the woman will be cross-examined tomorrow.

- NZ Herald

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