Royal Navy ship's captain sobs with relief as he is cleared of rape

Royal Navy ship's captain sobs with relief as he is cleared of rape

02/26/2021

Royal Navy ship’s captain sobs with relief as he is cleared of raping drunk 18-year-old cadet after she had been sick over pub table – as court hears they had consensual sex between two alleged attacks

  • Rhys Christie, 29, found not guilty of five counts of rape after three-day retrial 
  • He was accused of ‘pouncing on vulnerability’ of teenager after two nights out 
  • Lt Christie maintained she was willing participant and was cleared of all charges 

Pictured: Rhys Christie, who was today found not guilty of five counts of rape at Bulford Military Court

The captain of a Royal Navy ship today sobbed with relief as he was cleared of raping a drunk cadet after she vomited over a pub table. 

Rhys Christie was found not guilty of five counts of rape after he was alleged to have ‘pounced on the vulnerability’ of an 18-year-old woman following two nights out.

Bulford Military Court heard the teenage cadet had vomited in a pub on one occasion, and had ‘no memory’ of events until she awoke in Lt Christie’s hotel room. 

But Lt Christie told the court she was a willing participant in all sexual activities, claiming she had indicated her consent by way of a ‘wry smile’ and ‘giving me the eye’.  

The former commanding officer of the HMS Archer, 29, was today cleared of all charges following a three-day trial and 11 hours of deliberations by a panel. 

The verdict marks the end of the second trial into the accusations, after the first was scrapped for legal reasons as it neared the end last November.   

Despite clearing him, the board today told Lt Christie he had ‘fundamentally failed’ in his role as commanding officer and in his duty of care to cadets.

The judge said: ‘Having heard the evidence in this case the board considers that your behaviour as commanding officer of HMS Archer fell far short of that expected of a naval officer, and in particular an officer in command of one of Her Majesty’s warships, and that it was entirely inconsistent with the core values of the Royal Navy.

‘You were no doubt carefully selected for the commanding role of HMS Archer, and as such were an ambassador of the Royal Navy. You fundamentally failed in that role.

‘Your behaviour calls in to question your ability to serve in the Royal Navy and we invite your chain of command to consider that issue with care.’  

Pictured: Lieutenant Christie leaving Bulford Military Court after he was cleared today

The former commanding officer of the HMS Archer, 29, was today cleared of all charges following a three-day trial and 11 hours of deliberations by the panel. Pictured: HMS Archer 

Lt Christie admitted he ‘abused his power’ by sleeping with the cadet, but had maintained he did not rape her following nights out in Eyemouth, Scotland, and Ramsgate, Kent.

Between the two incidents, the pair had consensual sex, the panel were told.  

Referring to the first alleged incident in Eyemouth, Lt Christie told the trial: ‘We were sat next to each other, it wasn’t so much playing footsies, it was more her calf rubbing against my calf.   

‘I bought a round of drinks for everyone and I also bought an additional shot of Sourz for everyone. 

‘It came out the blue, her being sick. We were all taken aback by it, it wasn’t like she deteriorated throughout the evening.

‘She got on to her feet, took herself to the bathroom. She wasn’t stumbling or falling over, she was a bit shaken.’

He admitted she was ‘drunk’ but ‘wasn’t unsteady, she wasn’t slurring her words. She wasn’t outwardly drunk’. 

Lt Christie said she tried to kiss him in the pub toilet after he brought her a glass of water, to which he said ‘no, not here’. 

Lt Christie, who now serves on nuclear submarine HMS Vengeance, claimed the cadet was a willing participant in all sexual activities, claiming she had indicated her consent by way of a ‘wry smile’ and ‘giving me the eye’

When the pair were outside the pub, he asked her ‘are we going back to the hotel?’, to which he said she gave a ‘wry smile’.

Lt Christie said they had ‘no difficulty’ getting back to his hotel room and that although she didn’t explicitly give consent to sex he had ‘no concerns about her willingness’ because she ‘gave me the eye’. 

Referring to the second incident in Ramsgate, Lt Christie told police that the teenager was ‘fairly sober’.

He told the court: ‘She was willing, pulling me in to her when we were kissing. it was a mutual interaction.

‘We were both freely partaking in sexual interactions on the two evenings. It was fun, consensual, it was back and forth, I was taking the lead, she was taking the lead, it was nothing but consensual.’ 

Ellie Fargin, defending, said: ‘She was not physically taken [to the hotel rooms]. She walked independently, on her own, off in that direction.’ 

She claimed the accusation of rape had been made because the cadet felt ’embarrassed’ when people later found out about the relationship.   

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