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Last Updated: Thursday, 14 September 2006, 17:17 GMT 18:17 UK
'No porn complaint' from chaplain
HMS Albion
Mark Sharpe left HMS Albion after two weeks
A naval chaplain did not tell the truth about his reasons for wanting to leave a warship he was training on, a Devon tribunal was told on Thursday.

The Rev Mark Sharpe, 37, from Worcs, is claiming sexual harassment and discrimination against the MoD on the grounds of religious affiliation.

The hearing had earlier heard he left HMS Albion and HMS Manchester because of the use of hardcore pornography.

The Navy has admitted sexual harassment but denies discrimination.

The then skipper of HMS Manchester, Commander Richard Ingram, told the tribunal in Exeter that on embarkation he briefed the 15 Initial Sea Training (IST) students, including Mr Sharpe, on what was and what was not acceptable on the vessel.

He was convinced he should go based on separation from his family
Commander Richard Ingram

Commander Ingram said he knew Mr Sharpe, of Tenbury Wells, Worcestershire, had cited family reasons for withdrawing from training on Albion.

On 27 September, he had an interview with Mr Sharpe to ascertain his reasons for a request to leave the destroyer.

"I would have expected him to tell the truth. He did not," Cdr Ingram told the tribunal.

"He was convinced he should go based on separation from his family, and the effect it was having on him and his family," said the officer, now on the staff of the Chief of Naval Staff in London.

Cdr Ingram said it was only after Mr Sharpe left the warship that he became aware of the "severity of his allegations".

'Professional destroyer'

He said he could have made provision for Mr Sharpe to be able to continue his training either from another mess or a single cabin.

He added that he had been "upset" by the allegations against a vessel which had been described by the Commander in Chief Fleet as a "very professional destroyer".

He told the tribunal he had never been asked to investigate porn in the male mess prior to Mr Sharpe's allegations.

The tribunal was adjourned until 1000 BST on Friday.


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