Army instructor who made teenager cadets 'leopard crawl' cleared of ill-treating recruits
A 'strict' British Army instructor has been formally warned by a military court after he disciplined teenage cadets by ordering them to leopard crawl round a running track.
'Hard but fair' Lance Sergeant Ryan Harley was admonished for handing out punishments he was not entitled to give.
However, the 36-year-old was found not guilty of ill-treating four recruits who had accused him of 'manhandling' them during training drills shortly after they joined the Army.
LSgt Harley had pleaded guilty at Bulford Military Court, Wilts, to two charges of negligently performing a duty, both relating to administering group punishments to junior soldiers he was training.
In both cases he made them 'leopard crawl' on the ground in different areas at the Army Foundation College in Harrogate, North Yorkshire.
LSgt Harley told the court martial he was just trying to get the best out his recruits.
Signaller Lennox Clancy, then a 17-year-old cadet, told the court he was forced to leopard crawl around an 80-100 metre running track for wearing a woolly hat under his helmet.
While acknowledging that he should not have given out the punishment, LSgt Harley said he was concerned for signaller Clancy' health.
He told the court: "I saw Clancy with (the woolly hat) on. He could go down with a heat injury. It was a duty of care."
Signaller Clancy claimed LSgt Harley had 'grabbed him by the neck' and shouted at him for doing a 'monkey crawl' on all fours, which LSgt Harley said did not happen.
He also denied kicking two female trainees and another male cadet, all of whom were under 18 at the time.
LSgt Harley, who has served in the training wing of the Irish Guards since November 2021 and was recently awarded the Brigade Commander's Coin, told the court: "I was in control at all times.
"I believe I acted with total professionalism."
However, the section commander admitted inviting recruits to 'have a go' when he became 'frustrated' with them although he claimed he was not actually asking the teenagers out for a fight but to motivate them.
"When I made those comments it wasn't in a malicious way," he said. "I used it as reverse psychology.
"I'm hard but fair. I wasn't aggressive. I'm a diligent individual.
"I want to develop them to be the best. I was never a bully to anybody in all my time."
Following a four day trial he was cleared of four charges of ill-treatment of a subordinate.