A piece in today’s Times:
A soldier who pinched two female colleagues on the bottom to “lighten the mood” during a parade has been jailed.
Trooper Phillip Ewart of the Household Cavalry groped the women as they stood by his side at Windsor barracks, leaving one trooper in tears. When asked to explain his actions, Ewart, 29, told Bulford military court in Wiltshire that it was “banter” and he would have done the same to a male colleague.
In a statement, one victim told the court-martial that the incident had affected the way she worked and she thought other troopers “think and talk differently” around her. She said: “I am worried this will happen again and there is nothing I can do to prevent it.”
The troopers were serving in the training wing of the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment, one of the most senior British army regiments. The first victim said he had groped her as they were lining up for the Sunday morning parade. She did not feel comfortable but decided to deal with Ewart’s conduct afterwards.
“He shrugged his shoulders when he smirked and faced the front away from me. A few minutes later he did the same thing to [the other trooper],” she said.
The second victim aggressively asked Ewart what happened.
“I felt really shocked and disgusted, which is why I directly faced the left and asked what just happened,” she said. “I asked it directly to Trooper Ewart and I said it quite aggressively because of how I felt and no one said anything. I was just in shock and so much emotion came over me — I was really overwhelmed — that I just burst out crying.”
Trooper Monja Danischewsky, a witness, told the court that Ewart said he was “only trying to lighten the mood”. The court was told that Ewart later sent one woman an apology on WhatsApp, saying that he needed to remember that he did not work in a male-dominated environment.
The soldier denied groping the woman, saying he had merely “tapped” them. When asked to explain his behaviour, he said: “[I was] just being an idiot, to be honest. It was a joke taken the wrong way. It was nothing more than a brief tap and there was no sexual motivation behind it at all.”
He added: “It was just a wrong time, wrong place, heat of the moment thing. There was no specific reason other than she was there. It could have been a male colleague. There was no difference between male and female at all.”
Ewart said that because of the “nature of the friendship” he believed he had with both of them, he thought it was all right to grab their bottoms.
“I would not have dreamt of doing that to someone I had just met five minutes ago,” he said. “I [did it] as [I would] with my male colleagues, mucking around and having the same kind of banter.”
After deliberating for two and a half hours, Bulford military court found Trooper Ewart guilty of two charges of sexual assault and sentenced him to 60 days in military prison. Assistant Judge Advocate General Alistair McGrigor told him: “You said there was no element of sexual intention but the court found there was an element of sexual gratification on your part.” [J4MB: It must help the court to have psychic people on it.]
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