SAS soldier found guilty, fined

MICHAEL FIELD
Last updated 13:52 13/12/2013

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A Special Air Service soldier has been fined 28 days pay – around $4800 – after being found guilty in a court-martial on charges he stole army property and tried to sell it to an Auckland gun store.

Judge Advocate General of the Armed Forces Christopher Hodson ruled out detention and dismissal for the soldier.

He pointed out that although the soldier had been convicted of stealing Defence Force property, there was no loss of property to the military.

The soldier’s own equipment had ended up with the military while he tried to sell equipment to Sensible Shooters Ltd of South Auckland.

The soldier, who turned 30 today, has name and rank suppression. He was found to have stolen charging handles used to load automatic weapons and special sights, which he tried to sell to Serious Shooters in South Auckland.

He was also found guilty of possession of thunder flash pyrotechnics.

He had already pleaded guilty to a single charge of failing to obey written orders by storing a weapon in his quarters at the SAS headquarters at the Rennie Lines facility in South Auckland.

He was found not guilty on a range of other charges including possession of the plastic explosive semtex.

A three-man jury gave its verdict after a three-day court martial.

Judge Hodson told the soldier his contribution to the military was recognised and it had included duty in Bosnia and three tours in Afghanistan, not all of them with the SAS.

He said the soldier was useful to the military and he had made a unique contribution.

He said the rehabilitation aspects of detention where of no use to a man of the soldier’s experience.

 The judge warned the media again not to report sensitive aspects of the trial.

The soldier’s lawyer Melinda Mason told media she would be appealling the conviction to the High Court.

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