Belfast Telegraph

Friday 19 September 2014

UK soldiers admit policeman brawl

A group of British soldiers have admitted a role in a bar fight in New York which left a policeman injured

Four British soldiers have admitted being involved in a fight with an off-duty policeman outside a New York City bar.

The soldiers were on a military rugby team trip when the row broke out at around 4.20am on August 30.

Criminal complaints say the officer was punched and his mobile phone was taken, the Associated Press reported.

Court records show Ratu-losefo Yavala yesterday pleaded guilty to misdemeanour assault and petit larceny - the theft of another person's property - while Thomas Shute admitted misdemeanour assault.

Mosese Kurulala and Iliakini Raderua pleaded guilty to violations, which are not crimes under US law.

Shute, who is the only British member of the squad, was given a one-year conditional discharge, ordered to carry out five days of community service and fined 500 US dollars (£314) at the New York Criminal Court.

He was also told to pay fees and a surcharge totalling 250 US dollars (£157).

The other three, who are all from Fiji, were sentenced to community service and fines.

All four men serve in the Royal Scots Borderers, an infantry battalion of the Royal Regiment of Scotland.

Two other soldiers from the same battalion were also arrested in connection with the brawl but their charges were subsequently dropped.

A battalion spokeswoman said: "We have noted the findings of the court.

"Those who have been charged in relation to criminal offences will have that recorded on their record and it will affect their careers.

"Those who have had their charges dropped may still be liable to administrative action at the discretion of their commanding officer."

The Ministry of Defence warned that those who fall short of Army standards face disciplinary action and could be discharged.

A spokesman said: "All those who are found to fall short of the Army's high standards or who are found to have committed an offence under the Armed Forces Act are dealt with administratively (up to and including discharge) or through the discipline process, as appropriate.

"We have a common law and Data Protection Act duty to protect the personal information of our employees and, as such, we are not prepared to release any personal information relating to this case."

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