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Commander who assaulted officer dismissed

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 18/05/2016
HMNZS Canterbury is being loaded at Devonport Naval base before heading to Fiji.: <p>The Devonport Naval base</p> © RNZ/ Rowan Quinn

The Devonport Naval base

The Navy commander who grabbed the buttocks of a junior female officer has been dismissed from the Defence Force.

Three Defence Force members found Philip Wiig guilty of one charge of indecent assault on Tuesday after he repeatedly grabbed at the officer during an event at Devonport Naval Base in 2012.

Wiig's lawyer told the court that the offending wasn't sexually-motivated and was only a prank, but in handing down the sentence Judge Duncan Harvey there was "nothing funny about the offending".

Earlier, the harassed officer said while she didn't see the commander grab her, it was clear he was the one who was doing it.

She said each time she turned around she saw him smirking. After the fourth time she says she swore at him, and he raised his hands in a gesture of "mock innocence".

The officer, who has permanent name suppression, told the court she felt humiliated and preyed upon, and lost all respect for the commander.

Judge Harvey said Wiig's behaviour was such that he "lost respect critical to hold command, he failed to uphold core Navy values, undermined his integrity and demonstrated a lack of moral courage".

Wiig has the right to appeal the sentence and will not be dismissed until that period has lapsed.

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