A court martial took less than an hour to clear a Royal Navy Commander of sexual assault after he begged them not to ruin his career over a “schoolboy prank”.
Commander Steven Heap allegedly left a female colleague’s bottom sore after shocking her with two “firm slaps” during a Christmas party, in what he said was an “amusing not sexual” act of “drunken buffoonery”.
The 48-year-old, who received an MBE from Prince Charles, told the hearing he was very drunk when he slapped her backside on the dance floor but insisted it was a “prank” and he was “showboating”.
The panel of five senior male officers cleared Cdr Heap of two counts of sexual assault after 57 minutes of deliberations.
Assistant Judge Advocate General Robert Hill said: “To convict him, you must be sure there was a sexual purpose to the slaps”.
Prosecutors had alleged the Commander, who joined the Navy as a submariner 30 years ago, had been sexually motivated when he slapped the woman’s backside.
Given the current hysteria perhaps not.