'Obnoxious' Defence Force slammed over failing to provide care for former naval officer raped while on duty

The woman holding the dress hat she wore while employed with the Royal New Zealand Navy.
JOHN COWPLAND

The woman holding the dress hat she wore while employed with the Royal New Zealand Navy.

A former naval officer taking a precedent-setting legal challenge after she was allegedly raped while serving overseas says she is "sickened" at Defence Force attempts to block the case.

The woman won a major legal victory this week in her bid to hold the New Zealand Government to account after she was allegedly raped while on a deployment in the United Kingdom in 2009 by a British officer. 

The attack took place after months of sexual harassment and abuse by male colleagues – including male staff members betting buckets of KFC chicken on which female officers could be sexually "conquered". 

The woman claims she was raped while serving in the Royal New Zealand Navy in 2009.
MAARTEN HOLL/FAIRFAX NZ

The woman claims she was raped while serving in the Royal New Zealand Navy in 2009.

She has been fighting to take the New Zealand and British Governments to court in New Zealand for not providing her with a safe working environment.  

READ MORE: 
Former Naval officer pushing for culture change
Former officer told to take sex case overseas 
Navy use image of woman who was raped 
Navy hit by rape allegations
Navy report shows sexism 

The New Zealand Attorney-General and the British Ministry of Defence wanted her case heard in Britain where the alleged rape took place – but she couldn't afford to pursue the case in the UK. 

In a decision released this week, Justice Simon France chucked-out the Attorney-General's argument, ruling the woman's case can be heard in New Zealand. 

However, Justice France ruled the allegations levelled at the British Government could not be dealt with in New Zealand. 

The woman said while she had won, the victory felt "disappointing" due to the New Zealand and British Governments road blocking her. 

"It worries me they could be so petty as to put me through the unnecessary burden of a protest to jurisdiction, and seemingly waste taxpayers money with all their lawyers," she said. 

Ad Feedback

If she had lost the fight to have the case heard in New Zealand, she would have had to drop it. 

"I have an overwhelming sense of disappointment that our Government would even try to undermine my complaint, and try to send me to the other side of the world to raise a complaint about failings within the New Zealand navy's systems." 

"If they are just playing a legal game to make me go away and my complaints go unheard, then that is equally sickening and worrying for other victims." 

The woman's lawyer, Jol Bates, said it was a massive win for his client, and all other civil servants working abroad. 

"New Zealand Defence Force's obnoxious position that it did not owe any legal duty of care to take reasonable steps to provide the woman with a safe place of work will now go to trial," he said. 

"Their efforts to stymie her case and ensure her allegations never see the light of day have failed, and have been a total waste of taxpayers money." 

The Defence Force's attempts to push the case overseas sent a dangerous message to other victims of sexual abuse, Bates said. 

"My client is a brave woman. Ever since she raised the courage to complain she has been treated with disdain by the NZDF," he said. 

"It is hard enough for victims of sexual violence to come forward without such tactics being employed to prevent such a case proceeding." 

The Defence Force declined to comment as the matter is before the courts.

A date for the the next court appearance is yet to be set. 

 - Sunday Star Times

Ad Feedback
special offers
Auckland

Funding to support 23,000 new homes

The company will build arterial roads and water infrastructure. (File photo.)

The Government is pouring $600m into infrastructure that will support 23,300 new Auckland homes.

Anika Moa tours songs for bubbas

Anika Moa Chop Chop Hiyaaa tour in Pukekohe

The singer-songwriter's Chop Chop Hiyaaaa tour is a delightful way to entertain preschoolers and parents alike.

Girl, 9, drowns in bath video

Yearbury speaks to media outside the house where the 9-year-old girl drowned in a bathtub.

An Auckland family is "really raw at the moment" after a young child drowned at home.

Gangs' fight night draws skeptics video

Tokomauri Hoterene bloodied from his fight against Head Hunter Cory Enoka.

Members from 12 rival factions stepped into the ring in a show against street violence. But critics don't buy it.

Wellington

Car buried by slip

The buried Mazda in Palliser Rd, Roseneath, on Sunday morning.

Owner was at a party when he discovered his Mazda 6 under a pile of dirt on the side of the road.

Bars snub smoke plan

Hospitality members are reluctant to take up the council's offer, fearing it will alienate some customers.

Council offers to waive outdoor dining licence fee - but Wellington bars aren't tempted.

Schooling in the bush

A concept drawing of Zealandia's bush classroom, which has been granted resource consent.

Zealandia has got the go-ahead to expand educational offerings for schoolchildren.

Ex-British Cars House for sale

The building features a tiled lobby and a vintage cage lift.

1920s character building with penthouse apartment and rooftop on the market.

Canterbury

Photos: South Island flooding

John Parks' house and farm after the flooding.

Winter storm subsides, leaving slips, road closures, sewerage leaks and damaged properties in its wake.

Residents kept out video

Flood waters were easing but still inundating Riverlaw Tce in Christchurch on Sunday.

Some may not be allowed back into their homes on Sunday, even though flood waters are receding.

Cars, household goods written off

Diana McKay cleans flood debris  near her home on Waimea Tce.

By the time Ange Bates and Chris Benn moved their work van, 'the cars were gone'.

Tempest eases - for now video

Christchurch resident Aaron Jelley cradles his aunt's dog, Sharman, as they are evacuated from their home by Civil Defence.

Flood-hit parts of the South Island go into clean-up mode.

Waikato

'Kiwi culture' turns deadly video

Making a summer splash at locations such as the Raglan footbridge is seen as a Kiwi tradition but the consequences can ...

Four have suffered the same life-changing injury diving off a wharf; another was killed jumping from a bridge. Now, councils are taking action.

Hooves on the beat

Senior Constable Bill Eivers and Ali are known to patrol Benneydale together.

Senior Constable Bill Eivers has been patrolling on horseback for the past 15 years.

Lost trampers found

The Greenlea Rescue Helicopter was dispatched on Sunday morning to pick up four hikers on the Tongariro Alpine Crossing.

A rescue helicopter has airlifted trampers from the Tongariro Alpine Crossing.

More drama for English teachers

Fortune is the brainchild of Scott Granville, left, and Ben Woollen of Chasing Time Productions, an award-winning ...

Two Kiwi film-makers are attacking a gap in the worldwide English language-teaching market.

Taranaki

High steaks for cattle breeders

Jacqueline and Robin Blackwell have a friendly rivalry.

It's just as much about bragging rights at home as it is about national recognition for the Blackwell family.

Light pole hit-and-run

Police were alerted to the incident and located the driver a short time later.

The pole was left blocking an intersection.

Terrier looking for a friend

210717 News Photo. SIMON O'CONNOR/STUFF
Katie Tahere's dog Mocha is looking for a walking buddy after her dog Coco ...

Mocha is looking for a new walking companion after losing her best friend.

Farewells not the focus

Chiefs coach Dave Rennie says the team aren't focusing on rallying together to try and send the departees out on a high.

Any game now could be the last for several stalwarts, but the Chiefs aren't using departures as motivation.

Manawatu

Fetch not always a fun game

Chasing sticks can be a dangerous game, write vet Malcolm Anderson.

OPINION: Vet Malcolm Anderson offers some words of advice about the dangers of playing fetch.

No random drug tests 

Only following a police shooting do officers undergo drug and alcohol testing. (File photo).

Police are only given drug and alcohol testing if they fire a gun during an incident.

Millions spent fixing police cars

A police car comes to a final halt after crashing through a Hamilton property in June.

More than $8 million has been spent fixing damaged police cars in the past three years, with costs peaking in 2016.

Moon landing celebrated 

Buzz Aldrin stands on the Moon.

MEMORY LANE: Do you remember the first Moon landing?

Nelson

Fake News and tinfoil hats

12052017 News Photo: TOM LEE/FAIRFAX NZ - MP Peter Dunne speaks at Cafe Agora in Hamilton. 4 members of the audience ...

OPINION: As Trump and his supporters bang on about "alternative facts", the concept is very much alive and well here in the provinces.

Nelson reign supreme

22072017 NEWS PHOTO MARTIN DE RUYTER/ STUFF

Nelson players and support staff after winning the  Nelson Bays Division 1 ...

Nelson turn it on to hammer Wanderers in Nelson Bays club rugby final. 

Stage set for Ma's Place fundraiser

The Split Apple Rockers Andrew Palmer, Dave Baker, Craig Starrenburg, Ernie Tarling and John Foes-Lamb are due to ...

Support group Ma's Place to benefit from proceeds of variety concert.

Breaking up bad

It all starts innocently enough.

In this week's Middle-aged Man Stu Hunt combs through the wreckage of his dating history.

Marlborough

Renwick denied 'fairytale' finish

Moutere captain Baxter Wilson holds up the champion of champions trophy.

Moutere ensured there would be no happy ending to Renwick's "fairytale" season with a 22-19 grand final victory.

Old Boys get job done

Marlborough College Old Boys celebrate with their supporters after beating Moutere in the division two final at ...

Marlborough College Old Boys gained sweet revenge for their 2016 final defeat when they overcame Moutere 27-15.

Chinese keen on pricey NZ crays

New Zealand crayfish is a premium product in China where it can fetch $1000 a kilo.

When it comes to high end gourmet goods the Chinese have a growing appetite for New Zealand wine, water and crayfish.

Escaping the Beast of Blenheim

Stewart Murray Wilson talks to journalist Harrison Christian while fishing at the Whanganui river mouth.

Even though he lives far away under strict conditions, Stewart Murray Wilson still haunts his former partner.

South Canterbury

A metre of snow in one day gallery

Staff clear snow from the base building at Mt Dobson on Sunday.

South Canterbury's ski fields will be primed for the rest of the season after huge snow dumps.

Weather eases in SC

A fine and sunny Sunday morning was a welcome sight for the residents of a water-logged Timaru.

South Canterbury starts to dry out as rain stops and sun comes out.

Chickens lost in flood video

The Tin Shed owner Lesley Limbe at her property in Rangitata, which was hit by extensive flooding.

Retailer left questioning why her property was hit so badly by rapidly rising floodwaters.

Storm fells 100 trees video

Timaru man Dave Esler among some of the swampy gum trees which came down in Friday's severe weather, and the remains of ...

Timaru man loses more than 100 gum trees to storm which hit South Canterbury.

Southland

Todd Barclay: the other side of the ledger

Yes, we're all aware of the irony. Todd Barclay and crew in the Birdman competition during the 40th Queenstown Winter ...

What positives might Todd Barclay be able to point to, in terms of his electoral efforts in Clutha-Southland?

Cancer care a 'postcode lottery'

Fred Futschek's wife Marie died in January 2013 of stomach cancer.

Countless Kiwis may be missing out on the care they need due to the geographical inconsistencies.

Barry addresses elder abuse

Invercargill MP Sarah Dowie with Maggie Barry at a public meeting for seniors in Windsor, Invercargill.

"Bad people [prey] on old people."

Stewart Island heritage gets $1m

An artist's impression of the Rakiura Heritage Centre. The centre has received, over $1 million in Government funding to ...

The Government is to commit $1.08m to the Rakiura Heritage Centre Trust.

Ad Feedback