David Graham, a former commander in the Royal Australian Navy, has pleaded not guilty to a string of child sex offences
David Graham, a former commander in the Royal Australian Navy, has pleaded not guilty to a string of child sex offences

Navy child sex accused ‘trusted and admired’, court told

A DECORATED former naval officer accused of a string of child sex offences is "admired, almost without fail, by children", and the allegations against him are "inconsistent" with his character, a court has heard.

David Edward Lindsay Graham, 50, a former commander in the Royal Australian Navy, has pleaded not guilty to a string of sex offences allegedly committed against two children in Darwin and Alice Springs between 2006 and 2008.

David Graham, a former high ranking naval officer, arrives at the Supreme Court.
David Graham, a former high ranking naval officer, arrives at the Supreme Court.

Two former colleagues and two of Graham's sisters took the stand in the Supreme Court on Monday, vouching for Graham's good character.

Graham's barrister, Tom Berkley, has previously told the jury the good character evidence would allow them to consider whether the former officer "is the sort of man who would commit the sort of offences alleged against him".

Commander Brett Westcott. Picture: ADF
Commander Brett Westcott. Picture: ADF

Commander Brett Westcott, the second-in-charge on the navy's flagship HMAS Canberra, said he had known Graham since 1992.

He said Graham was the best man at his wedding, that he trusted him "implicitly" and that he was "absolutely" trusted around children.

"I have been inundated (since the start of the trial) with messages, with texts, saying there must be another David Graham, this is not the man I know," Commander Westcott said.

Graham has agreed he gave one of his alleged victims alcohol, and let his other alleged victim sleep in his bed.

Another former colleague, retired Commodore Peter Scott, said senior officers such as Graham were trusted with the lives of sailors, and that the navy was a "brotherhood".

HMAS Canberra (front) during operation Talisman Sabre. Picture: ADF/US Navy
HMAS Canberra (front) during operation Talisman Sabre. Picture: ADF/US Navy

"Dave is trusted with my family. They trust him and he's trusted in our home," Commodore Scott said.

"I have never seen any cause for concern for Dave being with my daughter.

"If he tells me he's done something I believe it, and if he tells me he hasn't done something, I believe it.

"Dave said to me he did not do it and he cannot understand why the allegations have been made against him."

David Graham. Picture: ADF
David Graham. Picture: ADF

Crown Prosecutor Stephen Geary said: "There's no issue in this trial about the accused's service ... it's very good."

Under cross examination, Commodore Scott said he did not think Graham would ever have a seven or eight year old child sleep in his bed, or supply alcohol to a 15 year old.

The jury is expected to begin deliberations on Tuesday, following closing arguments from Mr Geary and Mr Berkley and an address from Justice Graham Hiley.



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