UK

Soldier, 29, is cleared of fondling a female colleague’s breasts while she slept on a sofa

Soldier, 29, is cleared of fondling a female colleague’s breasts while she slept after saying he had only been reaching for TV remote

  • British Army trooper Ratu Salabogi, 29, is cleared of two counts of sexual assault 
  • Mr Salobagi denied touching a woman soldier at Bovington Camp in Dorset
  • Two male soldiers alleged they saw it and that Salabogi ‘punched’ one of them  
  • Mr Salabogi has been cleared of all charges at Bulford Military Court in Wiltshire 


A British Army soldier accused of fondling a female colleague’s breasts while she slept has been cleared of sexual assault after telling a court martial he had simply been reaching for a TV remote control.

Trooper Ratu Salabogi was accused of groping the woman after she fell asleep on a sofa while watching a film on an army base.

Others claimed to have spotted the 29-year-old Fijian groping her in the early hours of the morning and then woke the female soldier.

Mr Salabogi denied the charge and said he had been reaching for the remote control

Trooper Ratu Salabogi has been cleared of two counts of sexual assault after a military trial

It was alleged Mr Salabogi had later apologised to the woman and told her he thought she had ‘liked it’.

He denied two charges of sexual assault, saying that on the first occasion he had been trying to get the remote and the other time he was attempting to wake her, and was cleared on both counts.

He was also cleared of battery after it was alleged he punched one of the woman’s colleagues in an ensuing argument.

During the trial, Wing Commander Michael Saunders, prosecuting, said the incident happened in a common room of Bovington Camp in Dorset, where Mr Salabogi and the female soldier were in the Royal Armoured Corps.

He told the hearing that two male colleagues had spotted Mr Salabogi fondling the woman’s breasts over her clothing on two separate occasions and then confronted him.

The prosecutor added: ‘He claims this is a misunderstanding and others wrongly interpreted what they witnessed.

‘He says on the first occasion he was retrieving a remote control and on the other occasion he was simply trying to wake her up.’

Regarding the accusation of battery, Mr Salabogi said he accidentally struck one of the soldiers while he was defending himself because another soldier was ‘becoming aggressive’ towards him.

Giving evidence at Bulford Military Court in Wiltshire, the woman said: ‘I remember putting the movie on but I fell asleep halfway through. I remember being woken by [another male soldier] and he said I had to wake up.

Mr Salobagi was cleared following a trial at Bulford Military Court in Wiltshire

Mr Salobagi was cleared following a trial at Bulford Military Court in Wiltshire

‘He said [one of the other soldiers] caught Mr Salabogi touching my breasts while I was asleep.’

Cross examining the woman, Yogain Chandarana, defending, said: ‘Mr Salabogi had never acted inappropriately or shown any interest in you before had he? No. And you had not shown any interest in him.

‘He was not apologising to you for touching you. He was apologising to everyone because they had got it wrong and it was a misunderstanding.’

Mr Salabogi denied the two charges of sexual assault and one charge of battery and was cleared of all three.

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