Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Constitutionality of summary trials under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms

In a research paper submitted in 2010 to the Faculty of Graduate Studies in Law of the University of Ottawa, Francois LeSieur concluded that summary trials as they still now stand in the Canadian military justice system are in breach of par. 11(d) of the Charter which guarantees an accused the constitutional right to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal.

In addition the existing provisions governing summary trials cannot be saved by section 1 of the Charter which states that the rights and freedoms granted by the Charter are "subject only to such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society."

The paper is interesting as the author reviews and balances the traditional necessities and values of the military in the context of modern warfare against Charter rights, societal values and substantial societal concerns. He compares the Canadian situation with the UK and other countries who have taken steps to provide the soldiers with a justice and a fairness that they not only deserve, but are entitled to as citizens.

Mr. LeSieur's voice is another one which describes the unfairness and unconstitutionality of the Canadian military justice system as regards summary trials.

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