Monday, November 30, 2015

Lawyers Weekly reports on R. v. Moriarity

The Lawyers Weekly has this article by Cristin Schmitz about the Supreme Court of Canada's recent decision in R. v. Moriarity 2015 SCC 55. Excerpt:
“Bottom line, the Supreme Court of Canada stated that the purpose of the military justice system is to deal with matters that pertain both directly and indirectly to military discipline,” said Lieutenant Commander Mark Létourneau, co-counsel for the four appellant Forces members who were variously convicted by service tribunals below of sex, drug and fraud crimes. 
The decision “means that each and every conduct committed by a military person is subject to” the Code of Service Discipline, Létourneau said. 
“It really boils down to status: if you’re military, or if you’re subject to the code, that’s it. You’re going to be under the jurisdiction of military courts — no matter how small, or how unrelated, that conduct may be to [Forces] discipline or to the operational efficiency of the military.” 
In the wake of Moriar[i]ty “it becomes a political decision” whether to maintain the “blank cheque” the National Defence Act gives to military authorities, he suggested.
Speaking of which, the window is still open for readers' suggestions as to how the National Defence Act might be changed in light of Moriarity. The usual Global Military Justice Reform ban on anonymous posts has been lifted for this purpose, so don't be shy. What change would you make? Please send your specific legislative language using the Comment function.


  1. Bill C-1 An Act to amend the National Defence Act (R.S.C.1985, c.N-5)

    S.1. Paragraph 130(1)(a) is repealed.

    Comment. This repeal would restore the exclusive jurisdiction of civilian courts over Criminal Code offences committed in Canada. It would also restore the equality of treatment and benefits of and under the law acquired at common law and under the constitutionally entrenched Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

    S.2. S.66 is modified by the inclusion of the following exception:

    66(2.1) An accused acquitted or convicted by a civilian court of a Criminal Code offence committed in Canada may not plead before a service tribunal the special pleas of autrefois acquit and autrefois convict when charged with a service offence arising out of the facts that gave rise to the Criminal Code offence.

    Comment: This exception would ensure in respect of these crimes that discipline could and would still be enforced by the military through disciplinary proceedings.

  2. Thank you/merci. The window is still open for additional proposals. Please post your recommended bill language. The contest is not limited to Canadian citizens.


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