US Navy sailor pleads not guilty to molesting Lockhart Road woman

Visiting crewman accused of molesting a woman on Lockhart Road is out on bail

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 20 April, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 20 April, 2013, 5:29am

A United States Navy crewman appeared in court yesterday accused of indecently assaulting a woman in Wan Chai.

Matthew Forrester, 25, pleaded not guilty to one count of indecent assault before Principal Magistrate Bina Chainrai in Eastern Court.

The court heard that the sailor allegedly molested the woman, in her 40s, in Lockhart Road on Wednesday.

A trial hearing has been fixed for May 13, with three prosecution witnesses, including the alleged victim, to testify.

The court heard that the accused would not challenge the caution statement he made to the police after his arrest.

Forrester, who was accompanied by US consulate officials in court, was freed on HK$1,000 cash bail.

The magistrate ordered him to report to the Wan Chai police station every Monday and Friday. In the meantime, the US consulate would provide him with accommodation, probably in a hotel, the court heard.

Scott Robinson, spokesman for the US consulate in Hong Kong and Macau, said: "We are aware of this case and are co-operating fully with the Hong Kong authorities."

He declined to disclose Forrester's rank in the US Navy.

A police source said the crewman had arrived in the city on Monday.

That was the day the amphibious assault ship USS Peleliu and landing vessels USS Rushmore and USS Green Bay began their five-day stopover in Hong Kong.

The port call, which involved some 4,000 sailors and marines, left yesterday morning.

Captain Shawn Lobree said earlier: "This is a port visit that many of our sailors and marines have looked forward to it for quite some time.

"We welcome the incredible opportunity for a leisure and cultural exchange in the city."