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Soldier's grope shame on city night out

Published date: 26 April 2012 |
Published by: Staff reporter
Read more articles by Staff reporter


 

A CHESTER soldier bound for Afghanistan was so drunk he could not remember groping a young woman during a night out in the city, a court heard.

Lance Corporal Joseva Ratu Roligadra, 27, from the Royal Welsh Battalion, based at the Dale Barracks in Chester, was convicted after a trial of sexually touching a woman in Chester in the early hours of December 10.

Roligadra was also sentenced for being drunk and disorderly at the time when the sexual touching took place.

Cheshire West magistrates sitting at Chester heard Roligadra was well respected and highly valued by his army commanders and comrades, whom he had served alongside for the last few years, and how such an unsavoury incident was a completely isolated offence which had caused Roligadra heavy remorse.

Rob Youds, prosecuting, said  just after 12.30am Roligadra approached a woman who was sitting on a step on Northgate Row, upset after an argument with her friend.

The court heard the victim had admitted being drunk but was aware of what was going on around her.

Roligadra first put his hand on the woman’s shoulder, but the victim stood up and told him to go away, but Roligadra leaned towards the victim and put his hand on her thigh and touched her underwear, the prosecution said.

The incident had been captured on CCTV and soon after police arrived and arrested Roligadra, the court was told.

Mr Youds added: “This was a very unsavoury incident. Roligadra’s difficulty has been that he was so intoxicated that he does not recall what happened. It was a completely isolated incident and is certainly not entrenched behaviour.”

Scott McRimmon, defending, said: “This defendant has extreme remorse and empathy for the victim.

"He is a man of very good character, well respected in his position with the armed forces and he accepts he has let himself down as well as the regiment in which he serves.

"Roligadra is not someone who has been known to be involved with alcohol, but since joining the army he has got involved with drinking to excess to fit in with his comrades.”

Roligadra, who was being considered for a promotion to corporal prior to the offence, had also been due to join comrades for a third tour of duty in Afghanistan on April 20, but had to stay behind to face court proceedings.

Sentencing Roligadra chairman of the bench Philip Pownall said: “To be so drunk in a public place and to do such an act to a young girl is completely unacceptable.

"It does neither your regiment nor yourself any good in the public eye.

"We have taken into account you were so drunk that you can’t remember and that this offence is at the lower end of the scale.

"There was no intimate touching, even so, such an assault is unacceptable.”

Roligadra, who will now fly out to Afghanistan on April 29, was sentenced to an 11-month community order requiring him to carry out 70 hours of unpaid work on his return from his tour of duty.

He was also ordered to pay £500 compensation to his victim and £620 costs.

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