A Navy petty officer who bear-hugged a pyjama-clad female sailor in her bedroom has been convicted of assault.Ah, well that sounds a little bit different from just a bear-hug now doesn't it?
Bill Waa, 44, admitted the charge of common assault and another charge of committing an act likely to prejudice service discipline at a court martial at the Devonport Naval Base yesterday.And he plead guilty to the charges.
The 19-year-old complainant, who has name suppression, was surprised to see Waa - her instructor at naval reserve unit HMS Olphert - when he turned up at her Wellington flat on November 2 last year. She let him in and he asked for a coffee so they went into the kitchen. He then asked to see her bedroom.
She instead showed him the lounge. But after he asked again she "relented" and they went into her room.
Prosecutor Flight Lieutenant Randall Walker said Waa lay on her bed and discussed how to tie knots. She practised on her dressing gown cord and tied a knot around her wrist. Waa then pulled on the dressing gown cord, which tightened as she tried to step away. Waa then gave her a bear hug that "lifted her off the ground".
"As he left he went to kiss her but she resisted his advance. She was visibly upset by these events," Flight Lieutenant Walker said.Riiiiight. So totally not just a bear-hug AT ALL.
And here's the outcome for Waa:
Waa said he deeply regretted his actions and that he would voluntarily leave the Navy after 19 years and 11 months on May 29. He had written a letter of apology to the teenager.So the vaunted "fall from grace" was basically Waa's own decision, i.e. that he would leave the navy. The other outcomes were all temporary or minor (which is not to say they didn't have a serious impact on Waa, as clearly they did).
Waa, who had three good conduct medals as well as medals for long service and serving in East Timor, was sentenced to six months' forfeiture of seniority, a $300 fine, $500 compensation for the complainant and a reprimand.
I wonder what Editing the Herald thinks?