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Sub Commander Bullied Crew on Secret Mission

THE commanding officer of a Royal Navy nuclear-powered submarine has been charged with bullying members of his crew while engaged in a highly sensitiv e secret mission. Captain Robert Kenneth Tarrant is due to appear before a court martial but the details of the case are considered by the Ministry of Defence to be so sensitive that the trial may be held partly in camera. According to military legal sources, Judge Jack Bayliss, the Judge Advocate who is to take the case, has indicated that the whole trial may have to be held in secret. Captain Tarrant was the Commanding Officer of the Trafalgar Class, nuclear-powered submarine HMS Talent when a number of his crew alleged that he had verbally abused them. It is understood that up to five crew members have accused Captain Tarrant of abusive treatment, and that he has been charged under the Naval Discipline Act. Captain Tarrant is no longer the submarineÂ’s commander, and now has a senior Navy appointment at the MoDÂ’s head office in London. Legal sources with knowledge of the case said that the alleged incidents had occurred during a period of high tension on board the submarine while it was engaged in a sensitive mission. One of the reasons for the application for the court martial to be held in camera is the MoDÂ’s reluctance to make public either the nature of the mission or the location of the submarine at the time of the allegations. One of the roles of HMS Talent is to protect the NavyÂ’s four Trident ballistic missile submarines, one of which is on patrol every day of the year. HMS Talent is due this year to be fitted with Tomahawk land-attack cruise missiles. In 2004, two crew members of HMS Trafalgar were investigated for disobedience. Eleven crew members were also put ashore after voicing concerns about safety on board the submarine. Ministers subsequently denied that there had been any grounds for their concern and said that rigorous checks had been carried out.