A sailor on a Canadian warship will face a second court martial over an allegation that he dipped his penis in another sailor’s glass of chocolate milk after an argument between the two men in a mess hall of the ship (read the court docs after the jump). Master Seaman W.L. Boyle was acquitted of the charge of acting in a “disgraceful manner” by a military judge, Cmdr. Paul Lamont, despite testimony from another sailor who said he watched Boyle unzip his pants and insert his penis into the glass and “swirl it around.”
The incident happened Jan. 23, 2009, aboard HMCS Nanaimo, a small coastal defence vessel, while it was sailing offshore near Seattle, Wash.
The prosecution appealed.
The Court Martial Appeal Court of Canada overturned Lamont’s decision, calling it “unintelligible” and “inadequate.” The appeal court judges noted that Lamont “failed to decide the key issue in the case,” whether Boyle put his penis into the glass of milk.
“The judge completely avoided making any factual finding about the accused’s conduct,” the decision states. The court martial judge who heard the case found that even if he accepted the evidence of the witness, the conduct was “not disgraceful behaviour as that term is understood in the National Defence Act.”
The appeal court judges criticized Lamont, who issued his judgment in November 2009.
“He did not say why the accused’s actions were not disgraceful conduct,” the appeal court decision states. Thus, it is impossible for us to find a logical connection because there is no basis for the verdict.”
The accused sailor testified that he didn’t actually perform the dunk of which he was accused, he simply “wiggled his torso” to give the appearance that he’d done it. (And remember, even if he did it, it wasn’t “disgraceful behaviour.”)
A new court martial will be held, on just one of the two original charges. Master Seaman Boyle was originally charged with disgraceful conduct and with committing an act to the prejudice of good order and discipline. He’ll be retried only on the charge of disgraceful conduct.
There was one other interesting tidbit of testimony at the original court martial. It was revealed in the appeal decision. After the verbal argument between the accused, Seaman Boyle, and Leading Seaman Crangle, the sailor with the glass of milk, Crangle left the mess hall. That’s when Boyle allegedly unzipped his overalls and did the deed. Another sailor in the mess hall who witnessed the incident, left the mess and “warned [Leading Seaman] Crangle not to finish his milk.”
Although the court martial records are available online, I have preserved them as e-docs here.
Original court martial decision of 2009: