5 Aug 2014

Sex dupe soldier dismissed from army

8:59 pm on 5 August 2014

A soldier who tried to dupe two junior subordinates into sending risque photos of themselves with the suggestion of lucrative modelling contracts has been dismissed from the army.

Staff Sergeant Darron Wills, 49, admitted three charges under the Armed Forces Discipline Act at a court martial at Linton Military Camp on Tuesday morning.

Darron Wills.

Darron Wills. Photo: SUPPLIED

Two charges related to doing an act likely to prejudice service discipline and one charge related to bringing discredit to the service. Each carried a maximum of two years in jail.

The 49-year-old was dismissed following a court martial before District Court judge Heemi Taumaunu and a four-person military panel.

The court was told how Wills texted and emailed his first victim in October last year using the alias Paul Chalmers, a retired air force photographer contracting to sports magazines. He offered to pay up to $3000 if she took risque photos and videos of herself.

In sentencing, Judge Heemi Taumaunu said the offending involved a significant breach of trust and the dismissal was warranted.

"You used personal information that you gained from both victims. They had proposed a great deal of trust in you, both as a mentor and a support to them. You knew that they were both vulnerable emotionally at the time that you took advantage of them."

Wills was ordered to pay reparation to one victim of $1348 and $1000 to the second victim.

Prosecutor Captain Christian Anderson told the court that in July and October 2013 Wills, under the alias Paul Chalmers, claimed to be a retired air force photographer contracted by sports magazines.

In a series of text messages and emails to two woman, one of whom was a civilian, he asked them to supply photographs of themselves in their underwear and suggested modelling contracts could be on offer.

He also tried to obtain videos of a sexual nature by offering to pay $1000, which he increased to $2300 when it was refused.

The court was told that Wills only received one photograph from one woman and she was in her sports gear.

When spoken to by military police in March this year, Wills admitted setting up the email account in the name of Paul Chalmers and that he had used the alias to offer non-existent modelling contracts.

The prosecution sought to have Wills discharged from the army, saying his actions represented a major departure from the core values of the New Zealand Defence Force.

Wills' lawyer Paul Murray told the court his client took complete responsibility for his actions and acknowledged that his behaviour was appalling.

He agreed that while the offending was premeditated, he said it was also out of character, pointing to an otherwise unblemished 32-year career, which included medals for long service and good conduct.

However, he said Wills had begun suffering severe and emotional stress in the year before the offending, after his father died of motor-neuron disease and his mother was diagnosed with cancer. He also suffered a cancer scare and had to change jobs after his unit was disestablished.

Mr Murray said his client wanted to stay in the military and repair his reputation. He sought a reduction in rank, a fine and a severe reprimand.