Former sergeant accused of grabbing genitals

4:55 pm on 4 July 2016

A former army instructor accused of grabbing the genitals and pulling the hair of recruits he was training is facing a court martial.

Glen Edward Roberts at a court martial at Linton Military Camp on Monday 4 July.

Glen Edward Roberts Photo: RNZ / Kate Pereyra Garcia

Staff Sergeant Glen Edward Roberts, 51, is charged with ill-treatment of a person of lower rank, assault, and committing an act likely to prejudice service discipline.

Mr Roberts pleaded not guilty to all 13 charges which relate to training at Waiouru in September and October 2014.

At the time he was a member of the army's physical training corps and an instructor for new recruits undertaking basic training at Waiouru.

He recently left the Defence Force after serving in the army for 26 years.

The former sergeant is accused of grabbing the testicles of three male recruits during demonstrations to others and grabbing the hair of two women soldiers.

One of the women alleged he spun her around by her bun until she fell to the ground, then put his boot on her face. The second said Mr Roberts grabbed her from behind, pulled her to the ground and would not let her up until she grabbed his testicles.

The former instructor is also accused of using a real knife during close combat training when a rubber knife would normally be used, and of jabbing a recruit in the eyes so hard his contact lenses fell out.

Prosecutor Jonathan Rowe said Mr Roberts' behaviour committed dangerous offences and his behaviour went beyond what was acceptable for a close-quarters instructor.

Defence lawyer Major Steve Taylor said Mr Roberts could not recall the events which were alleged to have occurred almost two years ago.

He noted complaints were not laid until March 2015.

Mr Taylor said Mr Roberts had an unblemished 26-year career in the army.

A senior instructor, who has name suppression, told the Court Martial the training was in non-contact courses.

In his evidence, the senior instructor said he was friends with the accused and rated him as one of the best trainers.

More than 20 witnesses are expected to be called during the trial at Linton Military Camp near Palmerston North. The trial began today and is expected to run until Friday.