A married Australian Defence Force captain who tried to persuade a female army nurse into helping him provide sperm samples has been demoted to lieutenant.
William Howieson, 29, had been working as the Australian liaison officer at Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea in 2018 when he gave an unsigned doctor’s note to a PNG nurse asking her to help him collect sperm in a bottle.
The nurse refused and in a court martial hearing in Canberra on Tuesday, the former captain was found guilty of prejudicial conduct.
The 29-year-old’s actions were found to be a premeditated breach of trust and violated values of the army in a hearing on Thursday and he was subsequently demoted to a lesser rank.
William Howieson, 29, has been demoted from an army captain to a lieutenant after he tried to trick a nurse into helping him provide sperm samples
His wife, Bronte Millman – a vet from from Townsville – cried in court as the guilty verdict was delivered on Tuesday.
Chief Judge Advocate Brigadier Michael Cowan told the hearing Howieson’s behaviour had been a clear breach of trust, the ABC reported.
‘There has been breach of trust in this case,’ he told the panel.
‘It’s for you to decide the quality of breach of trust.’
Witnesses had given evidence via video link during the hearing and the former captain faced a maximum of three months behind bars.
Lieutenant Howieson’s sentence will be reviewed by a military panel.
He was also cleared of two other charges of indecency against the nurse.
The 29-year-old had an otherwise perfect record while in the army and had served in Afghanistan.
The Australian Defence Force said it ‘does not tolerate unacceptable behaviour’.
‘Army expects all soldiers and officers to act appropriately, safely and lawfully, and to display army’s values and live up to their contract with Australia,’ an ADF statement said.
‘Individuals who fail to adhere to our expectations will be held accountable.’
Lieutenant Howieson (pictured with wife) has avoided a maximum three month jail sentence but was found guilty of prejudicial conduct