I have noticed now on several occasions whati will call failures-
Sexual Assaults, Attacks, DUIs etc not brought forth to the Civilian Justice system, Mostly when the MPs are involved, even down to the point where a member was told do not bring this forth to a Civilian Police Force(hinting towards personal and career implications). Look at the amount of Sexual misconduct charges on the CMJ site, which is Internet accesible. how many of those, which in the civilian side would be gross misconducts and would lead to imprisonment.
This all isnt all hush hush knowledge either, it is documented on social media, credible news agencies etc, (the latest CFB Petawawa Incident got me thinking about this a few weeks back, as well as someones FB post stating "Ha, b@#$ i plead guilty and was only given XXXXXXX)
I have started to see that Canada is one of the few countries that frequents the use of the Military Justice system. At an incrdible cost, even several repeat offenders let go with fines, and no real career or personal implications.
Do not read into this the wrong way either;
I understand the need for a Military Justice system, we are to be held to a higher standing then normal citizens because we are to hold the values of Canada and Portray the CF and Canada in the right. I have just seen more often then naught, things being pushed aside, or no real life altering punishments, (im sorry but a $3000 and a reprimand isnt much),
The Military Justice system is great for breaches in service discipline, AWOL, 129s, Frauds, fighting, Conduct Unbecoming etc(things that are specific to the military). However, am I the only one that thinks that some things should be handed to the local/provincial Police Force or the RCMP?
But why do we have guard dogs, keeping an eye on other guard dogs?
Boy oh boy! Where do I start. There are so many things that you've said that are misunderstandings, misinterpretations or just plain wrong. I think when you start with making statements about the military or the civilian justice systems and use "social media" and "credible news agencies" as your sources then you are bound to go off in the wrong direction.
Firstly there are numerous forms of justice systems in the world: secular, religious, military etc. Very few countries implement them in the same way. Canada is far from being an example of an extreme implementation of a military justice system; many have much stronger and more invasive systems while some have almost completely abrogated theirs in favour of all encompassing civilian ones. Canada is kind of in the middle ground. Don't forget that while at the trial level we have a military system, at the appeal level it is civilian in that all courts martial are subject to appeal to the Court Martial Appeal Court and to the Supreme Court of Canada both of which are comprised of civilian appeal judges.
Our trial processes and procedures may be somewhat different from civilian courts but the law which is applied by the courts is consistent with how it is applied by civilian courts. (Our courts martial are in fact very similar to civilian courts in how they conduct trials - summary trials of course have no direct civilian counterparts but have been redesigned to ensure a higher degree of procedural fairness)
All of the CF's legal officers and military trial judges are fully trained as lawyers firstly by civilian law schools and called to the bar of a Provincial civilian law society before they start their military legal training.
The Code of Service Discipline has specific offences that relate solely to the military but also incorporate all other Federal offences (most notably the Criminal Code) when the committed offence relates to the maintenance of order and discipline in the Forces.
The issues that you raise at their heart have the question of when is it appropriate to have an individual who has committed an offence be tried by the military or by civilians? This relates to who has the jurisdiction to deal with the offender and the offence. In many cases it is very easy to make that determination. Once either the chain of command, the military police, the National Investigation Service or the civilian police become aware of an incident that could constitute an offence then the incident is investigated. During the course of an investigation any one of these agencies either could or should refer the matter to one of the other investigating agencies (if the issue is relatively clear cut) or seek legal advice from their own prosecutions or legal advisor arms (if the issue is complex) In the end, either the law dictates who should have exclusive jurisdiction (e.g. NDA s. 70(a) prohibits the military from trying an individual for a murder committed within Canada). Where the law does not dictate the jurisdiction then the factual circumstances will be the indicator.
As an example a service member who commits sexual assaults on civilians who he meets at a civilian bar would undoubtedly be charged and prosecuted by the appropriate civilian authorities. On the other hand a service member who commits a sexual assault against another service member on a base would undoubtedly be charged and prosecuted by military authorities.
In short, there is a rational system that considers whether an offence committed by a service member, (which is not a merely a pure disciplinary offence), has a sufficient military connection to allow it to be tried by the military rather than a civilian court. What may appear to be pure serendipity is in fact a system populated by professional police and prosecutors, both civilian and military, who know how to sort these matters out.
On the issue of sentences you need to remember two things. Firstly, the summary trial system is there to deal with the less serious disciplinary offences while the court martial system deals with the more serious criminal offences. Secondly, before a military charge is laid, the person laying the charge MUST obtain legal advice from a CF legal officer (QR&O 107.03) which ensures that the appropriate legal considerations (including jurisdiction) are taken into account. (Note that there is also a post-trial review conducted by legal officers of all summary trials to ensure that the findings and sentence are legal).
When it comes to sentences awarded at a court martial, you need to remember that there are legal trained judges, prosecutors and defence counsel at the trial. I can assure you having conducted several of these myself that at sentencing both sides make the strongest case for their side including referring to the sentences awarded by both military and civilian courts in similar circumstances. There are many principles that the military judges use in deciding what the appropriate sentence should be and these principles mirror those used in the civilian courts.
Do I think that sometimes there are sentences imposed which people will disagree with - you betcha. That happens in civilian courts as well.
Do I think that the "social media" or "credible news agencies" that you read don't have a clue as to what goes on in either the military or civilian justice system and what an appropriate sentence should be - you betcha again.
I have no respect for social media when it comes to these fields and very little respect for the vast majority of the "credible news agencies" either. My reasons are the following: neither of them take the time to educate themselves on how either system works; they don't give credit to the fact that the vast majority of the police, lawyers and judges are hard working professionals that are doing a good job the vast majority of the time; they generally have private agendas that they are trying to promote; and they make their living or their reputation through creating controversy even if there is no real controversy.
Have a good one.