Commodore Kevin Keat and his civilian subordinate were "friends at best" by the time he became her boss, he told his court martial this morning.
They never had a "close, personal relationship", he said, as he has been charged in his court martial.
He said the relationship had no effect on his career or his ability to manage his high-profile role as Assistant Chief of Personnel for the armed forces.
He maintained extensive contact with her only because she expected it, he said, and he was worried she might plot against him.
Commodore Keat is facing eight charges relating to the alleged "forbidden" relationship.
The woman, who has name suppression, claims the pair maintained a sexual relationship until December last year. The commodore contends the sex ended in March 2010, and was then just a friendship, "at best".
Continuing his evidence as a defence witness today, Commodore Keat confirmed he had a sexual relationship with the woman from 2008-2010, but said the liaisons were infrequent and ceased about six months before he was promoted to became her boss.
As her boss, the pair would go for coffee, would exchange texts and phone calls, and he would pick her up and drop her off from work.
But over time her behaviour became increasingly "odd", he said, and she would threaten him.
The woman would make allegations to him that he was sleeping with other women, and would then threaten to tell his wife - but she was a liar, he said.
Despite the threats becoming increasingly "vehement", he believed he was "managing the situation", he said.
The pair would exchange texts as late as 1.44am, the court was told.
He introduced a series of text messages from October last year which he claimed showed the woman was the aggressor in the relationship.
"I genuinely mean it, you are to leave me and my family alone," one of them read.
Prior to the lunch break on the fourth day of the trial, the judge paused proceedings to consider the objectivity of one of the military members of the court martial judging panel.
In a security clearance application in February 2009, Commodore Keat was asked to declare any relationships he was in, the court has heard. The commodore contended he did not include his relationship with the woman because he only considered it a "fling".
"The sexual connection bit occurred in 2008. But a strong, emotional attachment, there has never ever been that. Strong bonding, love ... there was nothing even remotely close to that."
It was revealed that one of the members, Commodore Ross Smith, had been a referee on Commodore Keat's security clearance form in 2009.
"I filled in the form in February 2009. At that time I was Assistant Chief of Navy Personnel. I was a colleague, I wouldn't say friend," Commodore Smith said.
Chief Judge Chris Hodson questioned the military member about his knowledge of the alleged affair, both at the time he was referee in 2009, and subsequently.
Commodore Smith said he had no knowledge of the affair in 2009, but admitted to having heard rumours of the affair subsequently - prior to the case being announced.
The judge allowed the court martial to continue for the remainder of the session.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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