Sailor banter ends in alleged bum slap and nipple pinch
BANTER within a group of Australian sailors has boiled over into sexual harassment, bum slapping and nipple pinching allegations, a court martial has heard.
Able Seaman Hannah Clayton plead not guilty to two assault charges for allegedly slapping Seaman Jarrad Pluckmore's bum and pinching his nipple.
Tuesday was the first of her three-day Court Martial trial at Defence Plaza in Sydney.
Witnesses to the two alleged incidents compared the sound of a bum slap to the thigh and gave evidence that the alleged pinch did not include a twist.
The alleged victim was accused of lodging the complaint in retaliation for a sexual harassment allegation made against him and his best friend Seaman Connor Coleman which resulted in them both being suspended.
The slap and pinch incidents are alleged to have happened while the sailors were completing their initial entry training at HMAS Cerberus in Victoria in October 2017.
During the trial Seaman Pluckmore stood up and showed the court where Seaman Clayton allegedly slapped him on his right bum cheek.
"I was walking to the back door of the gymnasium with Seaman Sunol, just following the rest of the group, as I approached the door and kept the door open for Sunol that's when I felt a slap on my backside," he told the court.
"I turned around and I saw Seaman Clayton laughing and she said something in the lines of 'how was that'."
He told the court the pain rating was a maximum five out of 10.
Defence Officer Lieutenant Commander Rod Nash read out Seaman Pluckmore's first statement to Defence Police from February 2018.
In that statement Seaman Pluckmore said his left bum cheek was slapped and rated the pain as a maximum three out of 10.
He said Seaman Pluckmore only complained in January after she made a sexual harassment complaint about him.
"In November 2017 you became aware that Seaman Clayton had made a complaint about sexual harassment," he said.
"The consequence of that complaint is that you and Seaman Coleman were both suspended from duty.
"These allegations are made to get back at her aren't they."
Seaman Pluckmore said that was not the reason he made the complaint.
"Being a male when these things happen to you it doesn't come up too often when they are reported," he said.
Four prosecution witnesses gave evidence to seeing and hearing either the slap or the pinch.
Seaman Ryan Sunol said the pair were flirting at the time and it wasn't a slap but a "tap"
"It seemed to me they were interested in each other," he told the court.
"They were constantly talking about how they wanted to spend the night with each other.
"I think they were both equally involved in the banter."
Seaman Coleman said he thought it was part of the "friendly banter" at the time after admitting he called Seaman Clayton Bub, Baby girl and Clatyboo.
"I heard Seaman Pluckrose say 'you shouldn't slap me on the ass, what would happen if I did that to you'," he told the court.
"Seam Clayton responded with 'oh you loved it'."
He said he had a "little bit" of resentment towards Seam Clayton for making the sexual harassment allegation against him.
The trial continues Wednesday.