Soldiers charged with child sex in court

·2-min read

Two serving Australian Defence Force members have faced court accused of a string of sex and drug offences involving children.

The men allegedly supplied ecstasy and had non-consensual sex with two girls aged 14 and 15 in Darwin in September.

An Australian Army private, aged 20, was denied bail in the Northern Territory Local Court on Thursday.

A second soldier, 19, was granted bail with strict conditions.

He is charged with 13 offences, including supplying drugs alcohol to minors, possessing unlicensed firearms and having sex with children.

The soldiers cannot be named for legal reasons.

The teen will be released into his parents' custody to return to his family home in Brisbane once a mortgage over their home is provided to the court as security.

He will also have to submit to drug and alcohol testing and not contact the complainants or witnesses.

Both men were stationed in Darwin and living at Robertson Barracks, a major Australian Army base located about 15 kilometres east of the Darwin city centre.

The 20-year-old from Sydney is charged with supplying drugs to a child and sexual intercourse without consent.

He's applied for voluntary discharge from the ADF and will remain in custody until his trial in the NT Supreme Court in 2022.

Defence lawyer Shane McMaster indicated his client would plead not guilty to the sex-related charge as he pressed for bail to be granted.

"There is going to be evidence that the complainant has said words to the effect that she was over 16," he said.

"The rub really is how intoxicated the complainant was and how that relates to her capacity to consent."

But magistrate Tanya Austin said "the facts disclose that the complainant said 'no' on several occasions".

Ms Austin said the soldier was facing serious allegations that carried maximum penalties of 14 years' imprisonment for supplying illegal drugs and life imprisonment for sex without consent

She said the prosecution has a "moderately strong case" and alleges the soldier knew the child was intoxicated when he initiated sex.

"He is proposing to leave this jurisdiction ... The court does have concerns if he does leave the NT even if it is to reside with his family given the seriousness of the charges," she said.

Both cases will return to court in May.

A third man is facing similar charges in relation to the same incident.