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Manitoba soldier found guilty of assault during training in Alberta

A file photo of a Canadian Armed Forces uniform.
A file photo of a Canadian Armed Forces uniform. Adrienne South/Global News

A Manitoba-based soldier has been found guilty of assaulting another soldier during infantry training in Alberta.

A military court judge delivered the verdict against Cpl. Reid Gobin on Monday after a trial at CFB Shilo east of Brandon.

Gobin was accused of sexually assaulting a fellow soldier from 2nd Battalion, Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry during training at CFB Wainwright in December 2014.

The judge said she had no doubt that the victim endured an unwanted physical attack, but she wasn’t convinced it was sexual in nature.

The trial heard that soldiers from the Manitoba base regularly took part in so-called tickle parties during the training course in which an unsuspecting member was held on the ground, tickled and slapped.

The complainant said he was sexually assaulted while clothed on the last night of the 3-1/2-month exercise, but Gobin testified that he slapped his accuser on the backside numerous times as a harmless greeting.

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The defence argued that the complainant made up the story to get back at Gobin for tormenting him during training.

Defence witnesses told the trial last week that the “tickle parties” were considered “good-natured fun.”

Though the horseplay wasn’t directly related to the charge the complainant made against Gobin, Sukstorf said, she made a point of denouncing the “low-level hazing.”

“The fact that it was common behaviour does not make it right,” she said.