25 Feb 2014

Jail after 'appalling breach of trust'

6:34 pm on 25 February 2014

A court martial judge has sentenced a former SAS soldier to four months in prison for offending described as an appalling breach of trust.

Corporal Theodore Laveta Marama.

Corporal Theodore Laveta Marama. Photo: RNZ

Corporal Theodore Laveta Marama admitted to 11 charges brought under the Armed Forces Discipline Act and has been dismissed from the Army after a decorated career spanning 30 years.

Marama appeared at Burnham Military Camp, near Christchurch, on Tuesday in front of Judge David Harvey who said the 53-year-old had made a dramatic fall from grace.

In November 2012, Marama was caught falsifying documents to engineer a trip to Wellington to a non-existent symposium so he could spend a weekend with his partner. He also falsely claimed for travel expenses including airfares and accommodation.

Defence Force prosecutor Matt McGrath told the military panel that Marama ran a youth development programme at the camp and gave sensitive information to his sister's mental health consultancy without permission.

Judge Harvey told Marama his offending was an appalling breach of trust and was very much premeditated. He was ordered to pay full reparation to the military and his sentence is to begin immediately in a civilian prison.

Marama has also been convicted in the Christchurch District Court on five charges relating to theft as a servant and will be sentenced on this in April.