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Soldier suicide: Defence Force refusing to comment

Mon 4 Mar 2013 In: New Zealand Daily News

Corporal Douglas Hughes The Defence Force is refusing to comment on the death of a gay soldier, who took his own life after allegedly being mocked and bullied about his sexuality while on deployment in Afghanistan. The Defence Force says it has refused to answer questions about the case because the Coroner has prohibited all evidence in the case from being published, including information from Court of Inquiry. “Throughout, the New Zealand Defence Force has endeavoured to work closely with Corporal Hughes' family and to act in accordance with their wishes,” a statement from Chief of the Defence Force Lieutenant General Rhys Jones reads. “We recognise that this has been a difficult issue for the family and our sympathies and support are with them. “At the time of the incident we informed members of the media that we would not be commenting on the detail of our completed Court of Inquiry. “The wishes of the family as expressed to the New Zealand Defence Force was not to publicly comment on this case, and to allow the family the time and space they needed to come to terms with their loss and grief. “We provide personnel deployed on operational missions psychological and physical health support before, during and after their deployment. “We will be making no further comment on this matter.” If you need support due to any issues raised in this story, you can call 0800 OUTLINE. Did you know Douglas Hughes and want to speak up? Email news@gaynz.com.    

Credit: GayNZ.com Daily News staff

First published: Monday, 4th March 2013 - 9:38am

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