Yong Chuean Benedict Ang outside the ACT Magistrates Court during an earlier hearing for the matter. Photo: Jay Cronan
A female cadet felt “violated” and “powerless” after a fellow military student forced himself on her in her campus dormitory, and said the decision to report “another ADFA incident” was hard.
Yong Benedict Ang, 22, was found guilty of forcing the woman to kiss him, after going into her room in the early hours of Sunday May 6.
The female cadet was very drunk after a night out in Civic, and was given a bucket and put to bed by her friends.
They wrote a message on a whiteboard in the hallway outside her room, warning others she may need looking after.
Ang, a Singaporean navy officer on scholarship in Australia, went into her room, lay down in her bed, and tried to force his tongue into her mouth.
She pressed her lips together and told him “no”.
He then grabbed her jaw in a pistol grip, blocked her nose so she couldn't breathe, and inserted his tongue into her mouth.
The female cadet said she found it hard and embarrassing to report the incident, and reported feeling frightened, violated, and powerless in a victim impact statement read out to the ACT Supreme Court on Thursday.
Ang's defence barrister, John Harris, SC, argued his client should not be convicted over the offence.
Mr Harris argued the offence was at the lower end of seriousness for an act of indecency.
He said Ang had demonstrated a good character, and argued a conviction would cause him hardship, both financially and for his military career.
He said the victim had not been physically hurt, or suffered any lasting psychological harm.
Mr Harris also pointed to Ang's young age as a major factor in sentencing.
“A conviction for this matter would stay with him for a very long time,” he said.
“It would be a pity, in my respectful opinion, if a young man who has been doing well thus far … had a black mark entered on his record, which would have a long lasting effect.”
But Crown prosecutor Shane Drumgold argued that Ang should face a sentence of imprisonment, saying it was the only form of punishment that could properly denounce the crime.
Mr Drumgold said the female cadet was vulnerable, being highly intoxicated, and sleeping in the sanctity of her own room.
He said her drunkenness made it difficult for her to defend herself, and also created the opportunity for the offence to occur.
He said Ang, who still denies the crime, had shown an “absolute absence of remorse”.
The act of indecency, Mr Drumgold argued, displayed a high degree of force, which he described as “scary”.
Mr Harris said a good behaviour order may be a punishment that was within range for the crime.
Ang will be sentenced by Justice John Burns next month.