A MARINE accused of ill-treating a subordinate during an alleged initiation ceremony told a court martial how he fed recruits chilli and cinnamon powder — claiming it was to help them win a drinking game.
Marine Ian Tennet, 32, said he only arrived at the quadrangle, where the event he called a joining run was taking place, after it had started.
Marine Tennet, a lance corporal at the time, said he played a sober, supervisory role, was simply there as a helping hand to “his lads” and was not one of the organisers of the event.
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The 32-year-old, of South Shields, allegedly ill-treated subordinate Carlo Nicholson, who joined 45 Commando, based in Royal Marine Condor, in Arbroath, in November 2013.
Mr Nicholson was allegedly forced to fight with other marines while naked and covered in cooking oil, and eat dog food and spoonfuls of chilli, cinnamon or curry powder.
The court previously heard Mr Nicholson was also told to lie in a pool of urine and vomit, run around camp naked, and drink liquid through a funnel.
The tasks all formed part of what the prosecution has described as an unethical and inappropriate initiation ceremony into 45 Commando.
Marine Tennet, who joined 45 Commando in 2013, denied he helped the overall running of the joining event.
He said: “I would say I was sober, supervisory and a helping hand
— not towards the organisers and the running of events but the lads — was supervising my lads, making sure they were not unhappy or ill-treated or anything.
“Ex-Marine Nicholson did not come to me with any concerns prior or during the event.”
Marine Tennet said there were about 40 to 50 people in the quadrangle and about 26 new joiners, who were wearing fancy dress.
He said he did tape bottles of cider to the arms of those taking part and also gave them spoonfuls of chilli and cinnamon powder as part of a drinking game.
He said: “I did not tape any bottle to Nicholson’s arms but I did help tape bottles, I taped two-litre cider bottles to the arms of the lads. It was just a drinking game.
“Because speed is a factor, if lads were not doing it quick enough they would probably get more cans or more drinks so I was helping my lads. Others were helping too.”
Speaking about the paddling pool filled with vomit and urine, Marine Tennet said: “The first I knew of it was when I arrived in the quadrangle. I saw a number of lads urinating in it so it was clearly not used for drinks.
“I was involved in the powder challenge among the boat race and other drinking games like that.
“The powder is just an added extra on that boat race. Once you finish your can, you have a spoonful of chilli or cinnamon. I asked if they wanted it, if they said ‘No, I do not want it’, what could I have done? I could not force them to do it.”
Marine Tennet said he took part in his own “joining run” when he first joined 45 Commando. He said: “It is not unusual for Royal Marines to get naked at a social.”
Marine Tennet denies one charge of ill-treatment of a subordinate, ex-Marine Nicholson. A second man, ex-Marine Ryan Logan, 25, denies four counts of battery and one charge of disgraceful conduct of a cruel kind. The court martial continues on Monday.