Monday, January 18, 2016

Blog(ger) in the news :-)

Minister attacked on two fronts over prosecutorial independence;
Allegation is political pressure can be brought to bear on matters

Cristin Schmitz reports in The Lawyers Weekly (Canada):
Military justice reform has unexpectedly shot to the top of the agenda for the federal government and the Supreme Court via two Charter challenges to the prosecutorial independence of the minister of national defence.
In the first case, R. v. Gagnon [2015] CMAC 2, the Court Martial Appeal Court (CMAC) struck down the power of the defence minister in late December, under Section 230.1 of the National Defence Act (NDA), to launch appeals to the CMAC of acquittals, stays, sentences etc.
The ruling relates to cases involving Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members prosecuted under the Code of Service Discipline for crimes and other federal infractions, as well as military disciplinary offences.
There have always been some challenges to the neutrality and rightness of a convening authority  under the UCMJ, to which the following might equally be said.
“The minister has simply no objective institutional independence required for the independent exercise of a function that can lead to imprisonment of one of his employees or [the employee’s] dismissal,” Justice [Guy] Cournoyer explained in translation from French.

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