18 Oct 2013

Commodore found guilty of five charges

7:56 pm on 18 October 2013

A court martial has found a senior navy officer guilty of five charges relating to an affair with a subordinate.

Commodore Kevin Keat was charged in July this year under the Armed Forces Discipline Act for breaching orders by not disclosing the affair.

Military prosecutors told the hearing at the Trentham Military Camp in Upper Hutt that Commodore Keat had a close personal relationship with the woman, who has name suppression, between 2008 and 2012.

Lead prosecutor Kate Feltham said Commodore Keat's account was inconsistent and questioned why he never told anyone about threats he claims the woman made throughout last year.

The Commodore's defence was that the affair was only a brief fling, which ended before he became the woman's superior in 2010.

A panel of three senior officers deliberated for three hours on Friday before handing its verdict to Judge Chris Hodson.

Commodore Keat was found guilty of failing to disclose the relationship, failing to take steps to end it, not disclosing it when questioned by the Vice Chief of the Defence Force in 2010, or to the Chief of the Defence Force in 2012, and threatening the woman and her daughter.

He was found not guilty of telling the woman not to disclose the relationship on her security clearance form.

Commodore Keat was suspended from his job in February and will be sentenced on Monday. Each charge carries a maximum penalty of two years in prison and the commodore may also face disciplinary action, such as demotion.