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Sexual Misconduct Allegations in The CAF

brihard

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Thanks for the clarification and correction, Brihard. I appreciate your expertise.

any other corrections that you would make to my suggestions?
Nope. I don’t have great familiarity with the inner workings of military justice, that was the only bit I felt qualified to weigh in on, sorry I needed out a bit. On the rest of it I think you’re probably on track.


This problem can be boiled down to one systemic issue: Within the military, there is too much overlap between service offences and offences under the Criminal Code. This includes how S. 130 NDA has been applied over the years. S. 130 (1)(a) should be repealed.

My understanding is that S.130 has been litigated quite heavily in the past five or six years. I think, ultimately, SCC upheld the military prosecution of civil offences under S.130. But at this point I’m gonna shut up and wait for FJAG.
 

FJAG

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I've read the MP article and while I don't disbelieve his story, I think that there are probably just a few anecdotal incidents being blown into a wide spread generality.

Are there COs that intend to interfere and pervert the course of justice? I doubt that this is true. I don't doubt that there are numerous units that make inquiries of the MPs when investigations drag on interminably and they are not being advised of the progress. Remember that the Chain of Command, for better or worse, has a vested interest in the discipline system. Will such inquiries be perceived by the MPs as interference? I don't doubt that it will by some especially those that have an inflated view of their roles or who aren't too confident in their own capabilities. Like any police force, we have absolutely great folks and some who are lacking. We need a system that can roll with both.

Are there prosecutors who don't know their jobs? You betcha. I've long contended that we have far too many prosecutors and too few prosecutions. Not that I want to see more prosecutions per se, but the number of prosecutions an individual prosecutor gets to handle during their career has a direct impact on the individuals competence. The fifty to fifty five courts martial per year spread over what I expect are some three dozen Reg F and Res F prosecutors (I'm not sure of the actual numbers these days but the establishment was well over two dozen in my days and I don't expect it decreased since then) doesn't leave much experience even though there would be additional investigations involved that never get to a CM. Prosecutors are supposed to remain in their job for five years rather than the more normal three year cycle, but still. There are some very experienced Res F legal officers who are also prosecutors on the civilian side but the degree of their involvement varies (especially when Reg F Leg Os need all the experience, and therefore CsM that they can get). There is now a Deputy Director of Military Prosecutions SMART (Sexual Misconduct Action Response Team) who is a Res F Leg O in the rank of LCol experienced in these matters who is there to "mentor" prosecutors in their duties to prosecute "serious sexual misconduct prosecutions". I'm pretty sure that's not enough. Mentoring, for example, will not give you the insight to sensitively conduct interviews and to properly evaluate credibility. That's a function of experience and spur of the moment actions and reactions to witnesses. (I look at myself with twenty years experience in court and interviewing witnesses but clearly realize that I'd be entirely out of my depth in dealing with a sexual assault/misconduct case until I've had quite a few of those under my belt as second counsel working hand in hand with an experienced lead) As with prosecutions in general, there is a balance to be struck in having enough trained prosecutors to handle such cases with each of them having enough experience to be proficient at it. The small size of the CF and such makes it difficult finding that balance.

As with prosecutors, there are problems in having sufficient trained and experienced MPs to deal with such investigations. One of our problems is simply career progression. In order to progress in rank, a wide level of experience is preferred. This works against developing individuals who obtain both the training and experience to handle such very sensitive and specialized investigations competently. The low volume of cases and the wide dispersion of our personnel makes it equally hard to develop that talent within the CFNIS.

I won't even begin to make suggestions on how to improve things. The deliverable ought to be a solid core of trained and experienced investigators across the CAF but how to strike the balance of getting those with career progression and manning as it is obviously leads to a number of choices. But even there, there are still many civilian police forces and prosecutors offices that fall short of the needed standard of competence.

Should we throw the chain of command out of the discipline process? I really don't think so. At its base is the long standing, and still valid, requirement of having a system of discipline which will facilitate ordering people into situations where their death is a possibility. Such a system needs a leadership that will be obeyed, willingly or otherwise, and you can't develop that type of leadership if you strip it of such simple powers as sitting in judgement of their subordinates when they are involved in minor and moderate disciplinary infarctions.

While I think we could definitely do better in shoring up the overall justice system, I don't think we need radical reform. We are far short of the point where the system, as a whole, is failing. We do have individual anecdotal incidents which are creating a crisis of confidence which need to be addressed but doing so might very well be a zero sum game unless all sides of the anecdotal incidents are "properly" investigated. I emphasize "properly" because all too often these types of inquiries merely bring unsubstantiated grievances to the fore but fail to examine the real cause of failure (if there actually was one - sometimes perception is not supported by reality) and this really helps no one.

🍻
 

ModlrMike

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Therein lies the question. Are we talking about asking "how's it going", versus "tell me everything"? If a CO sends a CCIR up the chain, at some point the chain is going to want an update. Simply asking for a progress report should not be seen as interfering. Sending a case to the MPs should not result in it forming a black hole.

When a member makes a complaint to the CO, the CO has an obligation to ensure the member understands that their issues are taken seriously, and are being dealt with in the appropriate manner. If the CO cannot periodically feed information back to the complainant, it leaves the impression that nothing is being done.

FWIW, I think that's a lazy headline for the article. I think they're using commanding officer in a much more general than specific sense.
 

Blackadder1916

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. . .
Are there prosecutors who don't know their jobs? You betcha. I've long contended that we have far too many prosecutors and too few prosecutions. Not that I want to see more prosecutions per se, but the number of prosecutions an individual prosecutor gets to handle during their career has a direct impact on the individuals competence. The fifty to fifty five courts martial per year spread over what I expect are some three dozen Reg F and Res F prosecutors (I'm not sure of the actual numbers these days but the establishment was well over two dozen in my days and I don't expect it decreased since then) doesn't leave much experience even though there would be additional investigations involved that never get to a CM. Prosecutors are supposed to remain in their job for five years rather than the more normal three year cycle, but still. There are some very experienced Res F legal officers who are also prosecutors on the civilian side but the degree of their involvement varies (especially when Reg F Leg Os need all the experience, and therefore CsM that they can get). There is now a Deputy Director of Military Prosecutions SMART (Sexual Misconduct Action Response Team) who is a Res F Leg O in the rank of LCol experienced in these matters who is there to "mentor" prosecutors in their duties to prosecute "serious sexual misconduct prosecutions". I'm pretty sure that's not enough. Mentoring, for example, will not give you the insight to sensitively conduct interviews and to properly evaluate credibility. That's a function of experience and spur of the moment actions and reactions to witnesses. (I look at myself with twenty years experience in court and interviewing witnesses but clearly realize that I'd be entirely out of my depth in dealing with a sexual assault/misconduct case until I've had quite a few of those under my belt as second counsel working hand in hand with an experienced lead) As with prosecutions in general, there is a balance to be struck in having enough trained prosecutors to handle such cases with each of them having enough experience to be proficient at it. The small size of the CF and such makes it difficult finding that balance.

. . .

Would a scheme similar to that used to maintain the competency of CF medical specialists (they practice in civilian hospitals) be possible for the legal branch? Could military prosecutors be seconded to provincial/federal prosecution services and thus have a wider and more intensive experience? Or would that make the powers that be realize there are more lawyers in uniform than are actually needed?
 

daftandbarmy

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Now in regards to who can be a judge against a CDS, if the charges end up applicable in civilian court would a judge from the Supreme Court be appropriate?

The court is already in session, unfortunately

Democratic Debate Tom Steyer GIF by GIPHY News
 

Jarnhamar

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It's truly unfortunate if our good officers are getting dragged through the mud along with the dipshit ones. Regular NCO razzing aside, there's some wicked wicked officers in the CAF who are honourable, inspiring, and enjoyable to be around and lead by. Proud to say my Pl Comd is one of them.

The truth is some NCOs are just as horrible as these (bad) officers are. When you consider the old boys club, maybe worse. NCOs get away with all kinds of harassment, intimidation, and misconduct.

There's 4 young women in my contact list who all left the CAF recently after very short careers. 3 year engagement or 3+4. All of them had NCOs act like pigs to them and their chain of command either didn't support them or punished them. This isn't 2nd hand info either, I've seen email and text convos. It's very sad.
At this point, aside from the obvious, being a soldier or police officer is the last job I would want my daughters doing.
 
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Weinie

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It's truly unfortunate if our good officers are getting dragged through the mud along with the dipshit ones. Regular NCO razzing aside, there's some wicked wicked officers in the CAF who are honourable, inspiring, and enjoyable to be around and lead by. Proud to say my Pl Comd is one of them.

The truth is some NCOs are just as horrible as these (bad) officers are. When you consider the old boys club, maybe worse. NCOs get away with all kinds of harassment, intimidation, and misconduct.

There's 4 young women in my contact list who all left the CAF recently after very short careers. 3 year engagement or 3+4. All of them had NCOs act like pigs to them and their chain of command either didn't support them or punished them. This isn't 2nd hand info either, I've seen email and text convos. It's very sad.
At this point, aside from the obvious, being a soldier or police officer is the last job I would want my daughters doing.
Jarn,

Sad indictment from a credible perspective. I have served for 38 years, and have never seen what you described, but I have no doubt on its' veracity. I would like to think that my daughter could have a positive experience in the CAF; I am, begrudgingly, re-thinking that position
 

MJP

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The truth is some NCOs are just as horrible as these (bad) officers are. When you consider the old boys club, maybe worse. NCOs get away with all kinds of harassment, intimidation, and misconduct.
I agree with this assertion and it matches my experience.
 

blacktriangle

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I've definitely seen some predatory behaviour displayed by NCMs, and heard what I consider to be reliable accounts of even more from others.

Some of the earliest, and most disturbing, were during my time as a reservist. I'm not sure what enrollment age is now, but at the time, it was possible to have 16 and 17 year old young women going through BMQ & parading...I'll just leave it at that.
 

Kat Stevens

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It's truly unfortunate if our good officers are getting dragged through the mud along with the dipshit ones. Regular NCO razzing aside, there's some wicked wicked officers in the CAF who are honourable, inspiring, and enjoyable to be around and lead by. Proud to say my Pl Comd is one of them.

The truth is some NCOs are just as horrible as these (bad) officers are. When you consider the old boys club, maybe worse. NCOs get away with all kinds of harassment, intimidation, and misconduct.

There's 4 young women in my contact list who all left the CAF recently after very short careers. 3 year engagement or 3+4. All of them had NCOs act like pigs to them and their chain of command either didn't support them or punished them. This isn't 2nd hand info either, I've seen email and text convos. It's very sad.
At this point, aside from the obvious, being a soldier or police officer is the last job I would want my daughters doing.
I both overheard and witnessed the Sgt mafia plotting to destroy a young troop commander for no other reason than he didn't "look like he belonged in the regiment" in the mid 90s. No shit. And it wasn't an uncommon occurrence. Young officers came to the regiment with an unhealthy dislike for NCOs after four years of beasting in the Rupert Rookery. These guys did nothing to disuade them of that opinion.
 

lenaitch

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Notwithstanding CO’s who do boneheaded things like attempt to interfere in an MP investigation (which could be a service offence all of it’s own, so why does the MP Group not lay charges against those people?) every time it is suggested by various interests that we do away with the NDA and send all criminal investigations and charges downtown to the civilian system, people to be reminded that then there would be no way to handle cases that happen overseas on deployment- which is the whole point of the NDA. It gives the CAF a world wide system of discipline and justice.

-the MP Group should be blown up and rebuilt. Rather than trying to be the second best federal police force in Canada, I would have them focus on what should be their core functions: security, traffic control in the field and garrison, Regimental and unit policing for NDA (non-CCC) offences and POW handling. I would bring in the RCMP establish a Det on each base to replace CFNIS to handle all investigations of Criminal Code offences. That way, there is again no suggestion that the Chain of Command could possibly have any influence on them.

One problem with that would be further fragmentation. Unless the RCMP set up a unit dedicated to each base as part of their federal policing mandate, which seems a waste of both money and trained investigators, criminal investigations would fall to the police service of jurisdiction (Halifax Regional for Halifax/Shearwater, Ottawa PS for NDHQ, OPP for Borden, Pet, etc.) Even at that on-base allegations would just form part of the caseload unless there is an expectation that a bunch of trained members are idling in the closet waiting for a case.

Now in regards to who can be a judge against a CDS, if the charges end up applicable in civilian court would a judge from the Supreme Court be appropriate?
It would the appropriate court of competent jurisdiction. 'Kings and paupers' . . .
 

blacktriangle

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Forgot to ask this earlier - has the option of replacing the NIS with a civilian DND investigative service ever been looked at?
 

Blackadder1916

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I both overheard and witnessed the Sgt mafia plotting to destroy a young troop commander for no other reason than he didn't "look like he belonged in the regiment" in the mid 90s. . . .

Reminds me of a conversation I overheard between two WOs in Gagetown back in the 80s - they weren't aware that I (then an OCdt) was there. They had been looking at the list of those coming in for the phase 4 that was starting the next day and the particular comment that struck me was about one candidate who they remembered from Ph 3 the summer before. They both seemed a little chuffed that regardless of the attitude or the performance of the newly commissioned officer, they would never be able to fail him on any EO/PO even if he deserved it because his father was a general officer. That young officer went on to a very successful career, though he seems to be the subject of disturbing allegations following his recent retirement.
 

daftandbarmy

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Reminds me of a conversation I overheard between two WOs in Gagetown back in the 80s - they weren't aware that I (then an OCdt) was there. They had been looking at the list of those coming in for the phase 4 that was starting the next day and the particular comment that struck me was about one candidate who they remembered from Ph 3 the summer before. They both seemed a little chuffed that regardless of the attitude or the performance of the newly commissioned officer, they would never be able to fail him on any EO/PO even if he deserved it because his father was a general officer and he was Mil Coll. That young officer went on to a very successful career, though he seems to be the subject of disturbing allegations following his recent retirement.

I'm only guessing based on personal experience at CTC, of course, but thought I'd FTFY just in case I was right :)
 

Haggis

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Jarn,

Sad indictment from a credible perspective. I have served for 38 years, and have never seen what you described, but I have no doubt on its' veracity. I would like to think that my daughter could have a positive experience in the CAF; I am, begrudgingly, re-thinking that position
I have had two experiences with such individuals while I was a sr NCM.
 

daftandbarmy

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It's truly unfortunate if our good officers are getting dragged through the mud along with the dipshit ones. Regular NCO razzing aside, there's some wicked wicked officers in the CAF who are honourable, inspiring, and enjoyable to be around and lead by. Proud to say my Pl Comd is one of them.

The truth is some NCOs are just as horrible as these (bad) officers are. When you consider the old boys club, maybe worse. NCOs get away with all kinds of harassment, intimidation, and misconduct.

There's 4 young women in my contact list who all left the CAF recently after very short careers. 3 year engagement or 3+4. All of them had NCOs act like pigs to them and their chain of command either didn't support them or punished them. This isn't 2nd hand info either, I've seen email and text convos. It's very sad.
At this point, aside from the obvious, being a soldier or police officer is the last job I would want my daughters doing.

If you have the evidence handy there's no statute of limitations on misbehaviour like that, to my knowledge.

Just sayin' :)
 
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