Matthew Clarke admitted that he groped the soldier, who was 18-years younger than him. They were in Soho central London’s nightclub.
A British Army major repeatedly touched a male colleague’s bottom on a drunken night out after an LGBTQ event at the House of Commons, a court martial has heard.
Matthew Clarke admitted groping the soldier – who was 18 years younger – as they danced in a nightclub in Soho, central London.
It came just hours after he had given a speech on ‘behaving properly’ while representing the military.
The court martial heard the major grabbed the man’s bum over his chinos and tried to get him to go home with him during his ‘persistent and unwanted’ behaviour.
Bulford Military Court was informed that Clarke was ‘changed’ after he saw action in Afghanistan, and had lost soldiers he was very close to.
The senior officer was slapped with a £2,000 fine but avoided being demoted, meaning he can still make Lieutenant Colonel next month.
Clarke, who had seen action in Afghanistan with his close friend soldiers, was “changed”, Bulford Military Court in Wiltshire reported.
Judge Alan Large said Major Clarke had misjudged the situation, when he got drunk.
He stated that officers’ standards of conduct do not alter when they are drinking.
“You had given personnel instructions on how to behave just hours prior. The alcohol caused this significant lack in judgement.
‘Taking all accounts into consideration, it seems this case is so severe that you must be subject to a service compensation order of £2,000.’
He said, “The Army will look at additional administrative issues including possible discharge.”
Major Clarke has been in the Army for over 16 years and had already admitted to misconduct by alcohol.
The First Battalion Royal Anglian Regiment was his previous command. He received a United Nations medal.
During his distinguished service career, he received an Iraq Medal along with a Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal.
William Peters, the prosecution said that Major Clarke was part of a group of people who had been drinking following an LGBTQ event in the House of Commons.
He explained that the backdrop was an evening out in central London, following attendance to an Armed Forces LGBTQ Event in the House of Commons.
‘Both [Maj Clarke] [the victim]That event was attended by many. [The victim]Maj Clarke was 18 and Clarke wasn’t yet acquainted with him.
“At this event [the younger victim]Maj Clarke was contacted by me regarding the housing at his house unit. The two of us exchanged our details in order to follow up on this matter.
The senior officer was slapped with a £2,000 fine but avoided being demoted, meaning he can still make Lieutenant Colonel next month
He said, “After the event people got change and went to multiple bars in central London.
A large group of mutual friends including both [Maj Clarke and the victim]Many were out drinking and went to the pub. The evening featured group dancing, and general [celebrating].
‘[The group]You went to several bars and clubs, and all the events that led to the charges were at one club. [in Soho].
“In this bar, the first by the bar. [the victim]He felt his left forearm grabbed by a hand briefly above his chinos.
“He turned to Maj Clarke, who apologized and stated that the touching had been accidental.
‘[Later]As [the victim]Maj Clarke approached Maj Clarke as he danced with another man and undid his shirt button.
Maj Clarke grabbed the trophy at various times and locations over the next few months. [the victim]He prefers his chinos to his buttocks.
‘[The victim]Maj Clarke made me feel anxious and under pressure when I was with him. Maj Clarke then asked him if he was alright. [the victim]He said he would return to his home, but he refused.
‘[The victim]Days later, an official complaint was made and evidence was obtained from multiple sources. This included hours of CCTV footage. [from the club].’
Sam Jones, the lawyer for Major Clarke told Bulford Military Court of Wiltshire that Clarke was still affected in Afghanistan by 2010 (photo: Sergeant and Company Commander were killed in Afghanistan).
Sam Jones, Major Clarke’s attorney, told the court that he still felt the effects of Afghanistan in 2010 when his Sergeant and company commander were both killed.
“I don’t understand what it’s like to be in a battle with the enemy, or lose a soldier or friend,” he said.
“But, what I do know is that such experiences leave a mark on people and can create scars that can transform a person.
Maj Clarke’s story is similar. [His experiences in Afghanistan]These are the reasons he turned to alcohol for support and they were at the root cause of the case.
“These events [in Afghanistan]He began a process that culminated in him acting as he did. He crossed the line. And he now accepts his mistake.
Judge Large told Major Clarke his ‘persistent and unwanted’ acts were severe enough to warrant the £2,000 fine.
However, he did not give permission to demotion or to issue another active fine that could have led him to be overlooked for promotion for an additional two years.
He explained that he was at the Armed Forces LGBTQ events in London. You had to be a role model for others by educating them about the importance of proper behavior.
“You are 18 years younger than he” [the victim]. You weren’t friends, and you had never met each other before this day.
He said, “You were with a bunch to different bars. [later]To a club that also has a dancing floor.
“CCTV” shows group members dancing together. Some of the dancing involved touching people’s bottoms, which was also sexualized. [the victim]’s.
However, he did not consent to you touching his underside. He was a much older senior officer than you.
“You have completely misjudged this situation. However, with your life experience, and especially in the Army, you know that consenting to an activity by one individual does not necessarily mean they will want it from all.
“Your behavior could be described by being persistent and unwelcome.
This has made a significant impact on the lives of many people you have spoken with. [the victim]His private, personal and familial life.
“You possess what lawyers refer to as good character but have an outstanding professional record.
“This is clearly not a serious violation of the British Army’s values and standards, but it is still very serious.”