Army officer guilty of attempted sperm sample trick
A previously upstanding member of the Australian Army has been found guilty of trying to trick a nurse into "assisting" him to give a series of sperm samples.
A panel of five senior officers delivered the guilty verdict against Townsville-based Captain William Howieson at an Australian Defence Force Court Martial in Canberra on Tuesday afternoon.
The officers had been deliberating for more than a day, after hearing a week of evidence.
Captain Howieson, 29, was acquitted on two counts of indecency without consent.
The verdict means the jury concluded beyond a reasonable doubt that Captain Howieson brought discredit on the defence force by showing up at a medical clinic with a note, purportedly from a doctor, telling a Papua New Guinea Defence Force nurse that she needed to help him produce five sperm samples over five days.
The nurse, giving evidence on the first day of the hearing last week, said she refused Captain Howieson's apparent attempt to get her to masturbate him.
She gave him a specimen jar and sent him to a cubicle, saying: "You need to go and masturbate yourself in there".
The nurse told the court martial Captain Howieson told her "but the paper says that you need to assist".
Captain Howieson, who is married, was at the time posted as the army's liaison officer at Taurama Barracks outside Port Moresby.
Captain Howieson's wife, Townsville vet Bronte Millman, wept in court when the panel delivered its verdict.
Prosecuting officer Major Cassandra Kanaley said Captain Howieson was in a position of trust and had described his role as "flying the flag of the Australian Defence Force".
The conviction will be the first stain on Captain Howieson's unblemished service record.
Defence Force Magistrate Brigadier Michael Cowen QC told the panel they "might conclude that it's sexual in nature".
"There seems to be no other conclusion in the circumstances," he said.
He said the panel might conclude Captain Howieson's offending had "a rather brazen element to it".
He said Captain Howieson was a "mature man who doesn't have the folly of youth on his side".
The panel of officers will retire to consider Captain Howieson's sentence.
Originally published as Army officer guilty of attempted sperm sample trick