HomeA former Australian Defense Force intern says he is still suffering from night terrors after the Latchford Barracks incident

A former Australian Defense Force intern says he is still suffering from night terrors after the Latchford Barracks incident

Alistair French was an Australian Defense Force trainee when he said he was physically and indecently assaulted in a common room in an apartment building in Latchford Barracks, near Wodonga, Victoria, last year.

At 7.30, Mr. French said: “It’s still very hard to go to that night. Look at the footage. I still have nightmares and night terrors from the accident to this day.”

7.30 aired a video of the attack showing Mr. French tied with electrical tape and gagged before being set on fire, choking, rubbing hot peppers in his face and eyes, and on one occasion pushing his penis over his head.

Mick Bainbridge, lawyer for Mr. French from Oberacion Legal Australia, told 7.30: “I don’t think at this point that’s an allegation. I think torture is not in dispute.”

A man approaches the face of another man, with the first man carrying a garbage bag around the neck of the second man
A man holds a garbage bag around the neck of Aleister French.(supplied)

The 45-minute incident was filmed by a fellow trainee who Mr. French and his lawyers say is a member of the Defense Force.

“At the time, the people I was living with thought it was a joke,” said Mr. French. “I was mentally and physically exhausted, and I thought it was easier to deal with than to fight it and get into an argument.”

“I let them tie my hands and feet, but it escalated so quickly that I became completely handcuffed,” he said at 7.30.

It has been medically discharged

A young man in a red shirt with a collar on the beach.
Alistair French says the accident “continues to have a huge impact on my life”.(News letters)

Mr. French’s dream of serving in the Defense Force has ended. He was medically discharged earlier this year less than two years into a six-year training.

His mother, Lisa French, still can’t believe what happened to him.

Mr. French showed the video to his mother and his lawyer only recently.

He said, “I was embarrassed and ashamed to tell my parents that this had happened… what kind of happened. I was afraid of the people who did this to me, as well as of the officers.”

A woman with long dark hair wearing a white shirt.
“The son we received at home is not the son we sent,” says Lisa French.(News letters)

“When he saw me, I was speechless, and I could not believe what I saw,” Mrs French told 7.30.

“It’s going down and it seems to be acceptable.”

The defense refused to give an interview. It said in its 7.30 statement that it takes all allegations of unacceptable conduct seriously.

It investigated all of Mr. French’s complaints in 2020.

Regarding the video, the defense says it is a “new allegation” and “strongly encouraged that any material evidence of such conduct be referred immediately to civilian police for investigation.”

A man with a beard wears a suit and tie.
Attorney Mick Bainbridge says he wants Alistair French to be able to rebuild his life.(News letters)

Mr. French’s lawyers say that’s what they recommended.

At 7.30, Mr. French said: “To this day [the incident is] It still has a huge impact on my life.”

Attorney Mick Bainbridge said they would take the defense to court.

“We want to make sure this young man can rebuild his life, face these traumas, and move on to a healthy life,” Bainbridge said.

Defense Secretary Peter Dutton said at 7:30 that the incident was “extremely concerning”.

“I feel for Alistair and his family,” he said.

“I will send this very clear message to anyone within the Australian Defense Force that this behavior is completely unacceptable.”

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