KAMPALA: A British soldier accused of raping a Ugandan woman two years ago at Sheraton Hotel, Kampala, has been acquitted.
Lt Col Benedict Tomkins, 49, was acquitted by a board of army officers at Bulford Military Court in Wiltshire, BBC reported.
In the trial conducted both in the US and Britain to allow more witnesses to testify, Lt Col Tomkins denied the rape charge, saying the Ugandan woman, whose identity was not revealed, had consented to the sex on January 7, 2015.
The woman told the court that although her memory was hazy, she remembered he approached her and “instantly” unzipped her dress and forced her onto the bed after she spurned his advances.
While he was acquitted, the board of senior officers lambasted him for “embarrassing” the service, reported the Telegraph of UK.
“Despite unanimously and overwhelmingly reaching a finding of not guilty, we have been similarly united in our corporate embarrassment by the conduct of the defendant,” Brig Paul Tennant, the president of the board, said.
“We as commissioned officers feel strongly that Lt Col Tomkins’ behaviour, even by his own account, fell wholly and demonstrably short of what we would expect of an officer of his rank and experience.
“This failure goes well beyond the fact of his infidelity.” Lt Col Tomkins is married.
“I would like to put it on record that too many offences occur because of the abuse of alcohol, more needs to be done by the services to address this issue,” Judge Advocate General Jeff Blackett said.
As the verdict was announced, Lt Col Tomkins cried with relief and was supported by his solicitor.