Sailor sobbed after alleged shower spying

Last updated 16:24 01/05/2012

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A sailor who says she saw a mirror being pointed at her in a shower cubicle onboard HMAS Parramatta was "sobbing" and "shaking'' shortly after the alleged incident, a court martial in Sydney has been told.

The sailor had said she'd just taken a shower onboard the ship, which was docked at Dubai in the United Arab Emirates on January 2 this year, when she saw the mirror directed towards her from underneath the adjoining cubicle.

Lieutenant James (Jim) McLaren is accused of using a mirror to peer under the woman's cubicle to watch her shower naked.

He has pleaded not guilty to committing an act of indecency without consent and, in the alternative, to conduct likely to prejudice the discipline of the Royal Australian Navy.

Giving evidence on Tuesday, Chief Coxswain Christopher Apperley told the court martial he spoke with the woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, shortly after the alleged incident.

"She said to me that she was in the shower and Jim McLaren had been looking at her with a mirror from under the shower,'' Chief Coxswain Apperley said.

"She was sobbing. It was very hard for her to speak. She was physically shaking.

"I had never seen her in that condition before.''

The court martial heard McLaren's quarters were searched later that day, and no mirror was found.

However, Chief Coxswain Apperley said he saw a toiletry bag that appeared to be missing a mirror.

"There was a frayed outline of where, by my estimation, an 8cm by four or five centimetres rectangular object, possibly a mirror, could have been,'' he said.

The court martial is continuing before Judge Advocate Jennifer Woodward and a panel headed by Commander John Peterie.

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