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Royal Navy sailors charged with sexual assault by Canadian forces

Four members of the Royal Navy have been charged with offences related to sexual assault.

Craig Stoner, Darren Smalley, Joshua Finbow and Simon Radford were each charged with one count of sexual assault by the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service (CFNIS).

The Associated Press reported that the men were charged for their role in a "group sexual assault" in barracks in Shearwater, Nova Scotia.

Prosecutor Scott Morrison said the British sailors were in Nova Scotia playing in a hockey tournament with Canadian Armed Forces.

The sailors are being held and are due in court on Monday.

In a statement on the Government of Canada website, Lieutenant-Colonel Francis Bolduc, Commanding Officer of the CFNIS, said: "This is a disturbing accusation of sexual assault.

"I'm pleased with the full cooperation provided by the British authorities to support the hard work and diligence of the CFNIS team in responding to this matter."

The CFNIS is a unit within the independent Canadian Forces Military Police Group whose mandate is to investigate serious and sensitive matters in relation to Department of National Defence property, Department of National Defence employees and Canadian Armed Forces personnel serving in Canada and around the world.

A Ministry of Defence (MoD) spokeswoman said: "The Royal Navy takes allegations of this nature very seriously, however as legal proceedings continue it would be inappropriate to comment further."

The MoD confirmed the four Royal Navy members have appeared in court charged with sexual assault under the Criminal Code of Canada 272.

They said they will provide all appropriate assistance to the Canadian authorities.

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