Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Bill C-77 editorial

From this editorial in the Halifax Chronicle Herald:
Current military justice is rough. Soldiers facing less serious criminal charges are not entitled to a defence lawyer and can face proceedings where both the prosecutor and judge are the same person, often their commanding officer.

In these summary trials, rules of evidence do not apply, there is no mechanism for appeals and transcripts of the proceedings are not required. Officers conducting these hearings often have little legal training.

These measures were handed down to Canada’s military by their former British masters, when the empire was constantly at war and rapid justice was considered necessary to enforce discipline in the face of the enemy. It’s one thing to flog a Victorian-era sailor for drunkenness, but we’d like to think our society has evolved to the point where flogging is considered cruel and unusual punishment.
And if flogging is cruel, the system that led to such sadistic punishment must also be considered inadequate, to say the least. So we can all agree that a fairer military justice system is long overdue.
(It's not that bad; flogging went out long ago.) 

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