British sailors accused in gang rape of Nova Scotia woman to move to Alberta
4 men are alleged to have participated in a 'group sexual assault' during stay at Nova Scotia base
Four British sailors accused of gang raping a Nova Scotia woman have been granted permission to stay at the British Army Training Unit in Suffield, Alta., after being told they are no longer allowed to stay at the Stadacona base in Halifax.
The commander of Canada's East Coast navy, Rear Admiral John Newton, said the four were no longer welcome at the Halifax base and had to leave by 6 p.m. on Friday.
"My role in this was only to provide a bridging mechanism for the High Commission and for the Royal Navy from the turmoil of the allegations to the charge being laid and I fulfilled that part as an ally and a sister service to the Royal Navy," Newton told CBC News.
"That period of time had elapsed and we just wanted to re-approach the court to have those conditions — which were exerted on us, probably for too long a time — changed to allow the British High Commission to deal with their own people."
A judge granted the four accused permission to relocate to the British training unit in Alberta.
The four men, who were in Halifax to play in a hockey tournament against Canadian teams, are alleged to have participated in the "group sexual assault" of a civilian woman in the barracks at the Halifax-area military base late on the evening of April 9 or early April 10.
The Canadian Forces National Investigation Service charged each man with one count of sexual assault causing bodily harm and one count of sexual assault committed with one or more other persons.
The accused are:
- Craig Stoner, 24, of Stonehouse.
- Darren Smalley, 35, of Gosport.
- Joshua Finbow, 23, of Stockbridge.
- Simon Radford, 31, of Lower Gosport.
The men have no prior convictions and were released on $3,000 bail each. The case is due back in court on May 27.
Rear Admiral Newton said the men's two-week stay at the Halifax base was long enough, and he had his own people's welfare to consider.
"It's an unfortunate situation but it's not good for morale, welfare and discipline, so two weeks was long enough in my mind," he said.
"As commander, I get to exert my will in that manner."