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US Marines chief in Australia stood down over drink-driving

AFP  |  Sydney 

The in Australia's tropical north has been stood down "due to a loss of trust and confidence" after being charged with drink-driving, the military confirmed Monday.

was relieved of his command after telling his superiors he was "pulled over... by the for suspected driving under the influence" in the city of last month, a US Marine Corps told AFP.

was told Monday that Schnelle failed a random breath test in the early hours of September 30.

The reported that Schnelle was driving home from a restaurant and bar in at the time.

"This is a man of very high character, he has no convictions anywhere in the and has contributed immensely to society," the national broadcaster quoted Schnelle's as telling the court.

"The US Marines are going to deal with him very harshly," he said.

The decorated was fined 500 Australian dollar (USD 353) for medium-range drink-driving and had his driving licence suspended for six months, a told AFP.

No conviction was recorded, she said.

Schnelle said in a statement late Monday that his actions "should not overshadow" the achievements of the Marines' deployment.

"I am personally responsible for the poor judgement exhibited... and concur with the subsequent relief," he said, adding that he had "absolute respect" for Australian laws.

Some 1,587 Marines are currently serving a six-month deployment in Darwin in an annual arrangement between long-time defence allies and

The deployments, part of Washington's strategic "rebalance" to the Asia-Pacific, come as flexes its economic and military muscles in the region.

The said an investigation into Schnelle's case was initiated, and Lieutenant was appointed the new officer-in-charge for the duration of the current rotation.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Mon, October 08 2018. 14:30 IST