Morgan Tait is the NZ Herald's police reporter.

Alleged attacker not blamed for other problems, woman tells Navy trial

The trial is in its fourth day. Photo / File
The trial is in its fourth day. Photo / File

A woman who says she was sexually violated by a senior Navy officer denies she is "blaming" the man for other problems in her life.

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

The woman, who has automatic name suppression, alleges Ward came into her cabin uninvited and forced his way into her bed.

The name of the ships involved are suppressed, as well as aspects of the ranks of those involved, details of Navy business and details about the witnesses.

The woman says Ward pinned her down, groped her breasts and digitally penetrated her against her will, only stopping when another person entered the cabin.

The woman is under cross-examination by Ward's lawyer Anthony Rogers, on the fourth day of the trial.

Rogers asked the woman if she was "blaming" Ward for other problems in her life.

He asked if her performance in the Navy and her academic efforts were poor.

She did not agree.

The woman reported the alleged attack to police in 2014 after she went to see a counsellor and realised the unresolved issue still affected her.

Rogers asked why she did not report the assault earlier.

"I was really scared, I was scared what would happen to me."

Rogers asked her why then she was able to make other complaints about other colleagues.

The woman agreed she made complaints about three other people.

"If it was such a concern to you not to make waves as far as your career was concerned, why was it that you had no qualms about making complaints relating to bullying and harassment?"

The woman replied: "When you're told that women should be barefoot and pregnant in front of a stove instead of driving ships, I don't think that's right."

Her experience with Ward made her "more sensitive to sexist remarks and harassment and the bullying", she said.

Before the attack, the woman alleges Ward made inappropriate and uninvited intimate contact with her.

Yesterday she said Ward would stand unnecessarily close to her while they were carrying out duties.

The woman said this happened about four times, usually after dark when others were not around.

He would brush his arm against hers, and when he walked past her he would brush his crotch against her bottom, she alleged.

Rogers also asked about the ship's log.

He suggested that Ward was not on the same duties as the woman, and asked her if the contact was accidental.

She disagreed, and said the log's entries were not signed so were not reliable.

The trial continues.

- NZ Herald

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