Wednesday, February 28, 2018

An acquittal in Canada

A Canadian military judge presiding at a standing court-martial has acquitted a reserve officer. According to this report, the case has an interesting twist:
For the two counts of conduct to the prejudice of good order and discipline, Judge Lt.-Col. Louis-Vincent d’Auteuil found the prosecution had failed to prove that [Capt. Todd] Bannister received proper notification of the cadets’ harassment and abuse prevention policy.

While that policy was available digitally, it was not considered an official order.

During an interview following the verdict, [defense counsel J.L.P.L.] Boutin opposed the idea that Bannister was found not guilty on a technicality.

“It is not a technicality, this is a basic legal requirement. Someone can not be found guilty of an offence, an offence that calls for serious consequences, in this instance up to imprisonment, without… applying some basic legal standard,” he said. “Everybody has their own perception as to what is acceptable and what is not… you have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt the standard exists, that is was well-defined and it was known. And (the prosecution) fell short of doing that.”

While the judge said the alleged behaviour was not condoned, he ruled the prosecution did not provide sufficient evidence from a criminal standard that Bannister had behaved in a disgraceful manner.
The ruling is not yet available on the Chief Military Judge's website. The prosecution can appeal to the Court Martial Appeal Court of Canada. 

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