Four Royal Navy sailors have been charged with offences related to a sexual assault in Canada.
Darren Smalley and Simon Radford, both of Gosport, were each charged with one count of sexual assault by the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service (CFNIS).
Two other sailors, Craig Stoner of Stonehouse and Joshua Finbow of Stockbridge, were also charged.
In a statement on the Government of Canada website, Lieutenant-Colonel Francis Bolduc, commanding officer of the CFNIS, said: ‘This is a disturbing accusation of sexual assault.
‘I’m pleased with the full cooperation provided by the British authorities to support the hard work and diligence of the CFNIS team in responding to this matter.’
The CFNIS is a unit within the independent Canadian Forces Military Police Group whose mandate is to investigate serious and sensitive matters in relation to Department of National Defence property, Department of National Defence employees and Canadian Armed Forces personnel serving in Canada and around the world.
The Associated Press reported that the men were charged for their role in a ‘group sexual assault’ in barracks in Shearwater, Nova Scotia.
Prosecutor Scott Morrison said the British sailors were in Nova Scotia playing in a hockey tournament with Canadian Armed Forces.
The sailors are being held and are due in court on Monday.
A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Defence (MoD) said: ‘The Royal Navy takes allegations of this nature very seriously, however as legal proceedings continue it would be inappropriate to comment further.’
The MoD said it would provide ‘appropriate assistance’ to the Canadian authorities.