Judge criticises drinking culture of armed forces during Portsmouth trial

Man jailed for assault after spitting at a police officer

A JUDGE has criticised the drinking culture in the armed forces while sitting at Portsmouth Naval Base’s court martial centre.

Judge Advocate General of the Armed Forces Jeff Blackett made his comments after clearing sub-lieutenant Samuel Mitchell of rape.

Mitchell had been accused of the sexual attack on a fellow officer cadet after going into her room at the Britannia Royal Naval College (BRNC) in Dartmouth, Devon, following a Victory In Europe Day dinner dance on May 8 last year.

The 27-year-old showed no emotion as a panel of senior officers cleared him of two counts of rape following the four-day trial.

The complainant claimed that she remained passive during the incident to express her non-consent and also told him ‘no sex’ but said she was too drunk and drowsy to articulate herself more clearly.

But the defendant told the court that she made ‘pleasure noises’.

Judge Blackett criticised Mitchell for taking advantage of the complainant’s drunken state.

He went on to say: ‘This is yet another case I have sat on where excessive alcohol has been consumed by service personnel which has led to disgraceful behaviour.

‘I hope the Service Prosecuting Authority takes action.’