A former naval technician, court martialed (sic) after a fellow sailor was allegedly raped with a rubber chicken, has had his conviction quashed, and another alleged participant is seeking to withdraw his guilty plea amid allegations of evidence manipulation by defence investigators.
Late last year, [the two accused] pleaded guilty to charges of forcible confinement, committing an act of indecency and assault occasioning actual bodily harm over an incident on board the guided missile frigate HMAS Newcastle in August 2011.It appears the first Sailor had negotiated a pretrial agreement which the government couldn't honor (sic).
In his written application, which has been widely circulated in defence legal circles, Able Seaman  said investigators were "allegedly involved in the manufacture and manipulation of evidence during the investigation of the allegations which they provided to the prosecution to adduce at the trial". He also asserted he was under pressure from his defence lawyer to plead guilty, and that the Judge Advocate did not ensure he fully understood the implications of the plea.No dissonance today. In the U.S. we occasionally have guilty pleas set aside because of some fundamental issue to do with the pretrial agreement. Some years ago we had a case where a term of the agreement required the accused to go to Naval Consolidated Brig Miramar, CA, to serve confinement. (Miramar is the premier military confinement facility in regard to sex offender treatment programs.). Unfortunately, the powers that be wouldn't or couldn't accommodate him. See United States v. Smead, 60 M.J. 755 (N-M Ct. Crim. App. 2004). And to see just how complex cases can get see United States v. Smead, 68 M.J. 44 (C.A.A.F. 2009), otherwise known as Smead III. New trials after a guilty plea are quite hard to get, unless the issue relates to the providence of the plea or some underlying problem with the legality of the charges.
Postscript: Interested readers can now download the ADFDAT decision in the Thompson matter from the Australasian Legal Information Institute (AUSTLII.edu.au), a joint facility of UTS and UNSW Faculties of Law. The case is Thompson v Chief of Navy  ADFDAT 1 (22 May 2015). H/T to Anonymous for the link.--Ed.