Four senior Marines in court for letting junior ranks beat each other up

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FOUR senior Marines neglected their duty by failing to stop junior ranks assaulting each other during an initiation-style ceremony, a court martial has heard.

Sergeants Richard Melia and Ian Spence, and Corporals Robert Wake and John Arnett each pleaded guilty to four counts of failing to perform in their public duty, on October 28 2014.

The court martial in Portsmouth heard the four men failed without reasonable excuse to stop a number of junior marines assaulting each other.

The assaults, carried out by others not involved in the court hearing, included “reefing”, whereby marines are struck with a belt or strap on bare skin, often on the bottom.

Spence, who was medically discharged from the military in July, also pleaded guilty to ill-treatment of a subordinate after he poured vodka in one junior colleague’s wound.

The case was adjourned for sentencing, due to be held before the end of the month.

No further details about the case were disclosed during the hearing.

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