Update to investigation into allegations of inappropriate behaviour
11 December 2013
Service Police from an Australian Defence Force Investigative Service (ADFIS) investigation team have made substantial progress in their investigation into matters surrounding the allegations of unacceptable behaviour in HMAS Ballarat.
As a result of this ongoing ADFIS investigation there is currently a reasonable suspicion that three members of HMAS Ballarat ship’s company have committed serious service offences, first announced by Chief of Navy on 6 November 2013 (http://news.defence.gov.au/2013/11/06/investigation-into-allegations-of-inappropriate-behaviour/). Pursuant to the Defence Force Discipline Act these three sailors were recently suspended from duty.
Similar to civilian criminal investigative processes evidence gathered will now be referred for prosecutorial review. The ADFIS team is continuing their investigation and will prepare a brief of evidence for the independent Director of Military Prosecutions (DMP) to consider.
As such Defence cannot discuss the specifics of the allegations other than to confirm it continues to treat the matter with the utmost seriousness.
Upon completion of this review the DMP may consider a range of actions, including the laying of charges and referral to the Registrar of Military Justice for consideration by a Service Tribunal, or referral for civilian prosecution.
The Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral Ray Griggs has announced that a separate Administrative Inquiry into certain aspects relating to the HMAS Ballarat allegations has commenced. This inquiry is being run with the full agreement of the ADFIS and is designed to identify any broader procedural or cultural issues that may require further action by Navy.
“I am very keen to remain as open and transparent as possible without compromising the investigative process,” Vice Admiral Griggs said.
“Due to the serious nature of these allegations, maintaining the integrity of the investigative process remains my principal concern.
“Navy does not tolerate unacceptable behaviour. It is inconsistent with its values and the behaviours. Unacceptable behaviour by individuals damages our people and our effectiveness to conduct operations and achieve our mission,” he said.
Defence will continue to provide updates on the progress of this matter, when it is appropriate to do so.
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