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A senior officer of the Australian navy was found guilty on Wednesday of spanking a junior female sailor. Royal Australian Navy

A senior officer of the Australian navy was found guilty on Wednesday of spanking a junior female sailor.

Lieutenant Commander John Alan Jones, 58, will spend at a least a year in jail for spanking the female sailor in his cabin on four separate occasions.

Jones was sentenced to 18 months in a civilian prison but could be released after a year with a six-month good behaviour bond.

Jones told the young woman that the assaults were "a test to see how disciplined and compliant you [are]".

The woman told the court that Jones ordered her to count the number of smacks out aloud and admit she was "a naughty girl" while he made her bottom look "nice and red".

Jones will be held in custody at Sydney's Holsworthy military detention centre pending a possible appeal and the outcome of an automatic legal review of his court martial hearing.

He was also immediately demoted from the rank of lieutenant commander and will be dismissed from the navy after the review.

Jones was also fined AUD$2,000 for trying to destroy his defence-issued laptop computer which the court believed held spanking pornography files. He had earlier pleaded guilty to attempting to destroy the laptop computer, according to a report by Ninemsn.

The penalties were issued by a court martial panel in Canberra, Australia a day after it found Jones guilty of seven acts of indecency.

Most of the incidents occurred on board the ship in Jones' cabin while two incidents happened in a private residence in Western Australia.

The woman, who could not be named for legal reasons, claims she has been left traumatised by the ordeal.

She broke down several times in court as she gave evidence and told the court martial she still had nightmares about Jones and had wanted to kill herself.

In an address to the media on Tuesday as a response to the case, Defence Minister Stephen Smith said there was zero tolerance of inappropriate behaviour in the armed forces.

"The vast bulk of members of the defence force conduct themselves in an appropriate way," he told reporters.

"But where we see bad or inappropriate behaviour, there is no tolerance for it."

The case follows a series of scandals within the Australian Defence Force and, in particular, with the navy.