3 British Navy sailors charged in alleged gang rape can return home to U.K.

WATCH ABOVE: Three of four British Navy sailors charged in connection with an alleged gang rape in our region are looking to go home. After two days of testimony from several witnesses, a Nova Scotia Supreme Court judge has made a decision. Global’s Natasha Pace reports.

HALIFAX  – Three of four British Navy sailors charged in connection with an alleged gang rape are being allowed to return home pending their trial.

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The four accused are Simon Radford, Joshua Finbow, Craig Stoner and Darren Smalley. The men were in Nova Scotia as part of a hockey tournament in April. It’s alleged they committed a group sexual assault against a young woman in the military barracks at CFB Shearwater.

All four were granted bail earlier this year, and have been staying with a British military training group at CFB Suffield in Alberta.

Joshua Finbow, Simon Radford and Craig Stoner then asked the court for changes to their bail terms to allow them to return to the United Kingdom. The fourth accused, Darren Smalley, did not ask to change his conditions and remains in Alberta.

Wednesday afternoon, a Nova Scotia Supreme Court judge decided Finbow, Radford and Stoner could vary their conditions and return to the UK.

Justice Josh Arnold told the sailors they must abide by a number of terms, including providing $10,000 cash bail each, staying away from the alleged victim and surrendering their passports to the British Royal Navy when they return to the United Kingdom. The British Royal Navy has stipulated in court that they will not deploy the men until June 2017, unless their court appearances conclude sooner.

The three must also report each Friday by phone to Dartmouth Provincial Court and be in Canada a minimum of five days before their next scheduled court appearance.

Scott Morrison, the Crown Attorney handling the case, said he was concerned about the men being a flight risk, but the extra conditions the court imposed provides more reassurance.

“The court has put together a bail plan that is far more restrictive and specific then what was proposed, at the end of the day if the court is satisfied this will bring these men back to court, then the crown is equally satisfied,” Morrison said following the bail decision.

Morrison said he was also concerned about what would happen if the men were to leave the United Kingdom or be deployed. “I think the unique situation that could shape up here is if these men had ever been deployed, jurisdiction would have been a very difficult issue to resolve, so as long as they remain in the United Kingdom, Canada has a good relationship with the United Kingdom, and at this point we’ve had good cooperation so there’s nothing to lead us to conclude that wouldn’t continue,” said Morrison.

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