Charles Howeson and his wife Emma at court
Charles Howeson was a regional head of royal bank Coutts and appointed by Her Majesty as one of her Royal Navy Honorary Captains.
The 67-year-old was accompanied by his wife Emma as he faced 15 charges of sexual offences and indecent assaults on teenage boys and young men dating back 32 years.
After the brief hearing Mrs Howeson launched an impassioned defence of her husband. Saying he had served his country selflessly, she vowed to support him during his forthcoming trial.
Mrs Howeson vowed to stand by her husband
Howeson is accused of committing the offences between 1985 and 1994 against 10 male victims. One assault allegedly took place on board the Royal Navy frigate HMS Cleopatra.
We know he is innocent and we will support him to the last
He is accused of 12 counts of indecent assault, two counts of a serious sexual offence against a male over the age of 16 and one attempted offence against a boy aged between 14 and 15.
A packed Plymouth magistrates court was told that his case would go straight to Crown Court for a hearing next month.
He faced a court accused of historic sex offences against men and boys
Howeson, of Plymouth, only spoke to confirm his name and say: “Thank you”.
Get Quotes on Home Insurance
After the hearing, the statement from Mrs Howeson was handed out by his solicitor.
She said: “In 38 years of marriage and after four children, I have never once doubted the honesty of my husband nor do I believe that he would be capable of such acts as he has been accused of.
“Charles strenuously refutes the allegations and I will stand by and support him during his forthcoming trial.
“My husband is a man who has served his country and his community selflessly, with courage and with integrity, and he deserves better than this, especially now that his health is failing.
After the brief hearing Mrs Howeson launched an impassioned defence of her husband
“We have faith in the English judicial system and believe that justice will be done and Charles will be acquitted.
“The lives of Charles, me and our children have been torn apart over the last year, but we know he is innocent and we will support him to the last.”
Howeson, who was raised in Mevagissey in Cornwall, joined the navy in 1967 before making his fortune in property and launching a career in the public, private and voluntary sectors.
He is vice president for life of the Plymouth Drake Foundation, a grant-making charity he founded in 2008.
Howeson was released on unconditional bail to appear at Plymouth Crown Court on May 15.