Navy commander loses name suppression after indecent assault

Philip Wiig (supplied)
Philip Wiig (supplied)

The Navy Commander found guilty of grabbing a junior female officer has been dismissed from service.

Philip Wiig was yesterday convicted of one charge of indecent assault, after touching the officer's buttocks at least four times at an event at the Devonport Naval Base in 2012.

The officer, who has permanent name suppression, told the court she felt humiliated and preyed upon, and lost all respect for the Commander.

But Wiig's lawyer told the court the offending wasn't sexually motivated, and was a prank.

In handing down the sentence Judge Duncan Harvey told the court this wasn't accepted, and there was "nothing funny about the offending".

Judge Harvey said Wiig's behaviour was such that he "lost respect critical to hold command, he failed to uphold core Navy values, undermined his integrity and demonstrated a lack of moral courage".

Philip Wiig still has the right to appeal, and his dismissal doesn't come into effect until the time frame available to lodge it has lapsed.

Earlier, the harassed officer told the court she didn't see the Commander grab her, but that it was clear he was the one who was doing it.

She said each time she turned around she saw him smirking. After the fourth time she says she swore at him, and he raised his hands in a gesture of "mock innocence".

Wiig's lawyer argued naming him would cause undue hardship and stress on his family, but Judge Duncan Harvey told the court not naming him would place a cloud of suspicion around other Navy Commanders.

In a victim impact statement the female officer says when she was grabbed a "cold blooded feeling of disbelief flooded me, followed by a feeling of violation, and then humiliation that someone else might have seen".

She says she didn't want to leave the Navy event, so decided to sit on a bar stool for the rest of the night -- making it impossible for her to be grabbed again.

The victim told the court she lost all respect for Commander Wiig, and avoided future Navy functions.

The defence has called a number of character witnesses. One colleague and friend of Wiig described him as "thoroughly professional". She told the court on social occasions where alcohol was involved his behaviour was "exemplary".