Author Topic: Report obtained by CTV News shows lack of confidence in military justice system  (Read 7864 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Kat Stevens

    Quando omni flunkus moritati.

  • Army.ca Subscriber
  • Army.ca Fixture
  • *
  • 212,800
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 5,660
  • that's how we roll in redneck land
I Skated on more orders parades than I went down for, so there must have been some doubt involved  8).
Apparently, a "USUAL SUSPECT"

“In peace there's nothing so becomes a man as modest stillness and humility; but when the blast of war blows in our ears, then imitate the action of the tiger; stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood, disguise fair nature with hard-favor'd rage.”

 Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and start slitting throats

Online ballz

    ...

  • Army.ca Subscriber
  • Army.ca Veteran
  • *
  • 109,041
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 2,153
I think "inconsistent" is the best word to describe what I've seen, which when it comes to justice.... is not good.

There were some allusions to senior/executive officers getting away with things that troops would be hung for... I think there are cases of that as was shown, I also look back to the LCol who got convicted TWICE for wearing medals she hadn't earned, and only got a severe reprimand each time.

But also, the talk of NDs was mentioned above... I swear from 2012-2017 in which I was in a Battalion, a soldier could fire off a round while cleaning weapons in the coy stores and the JAG would tell the Chain of Command not to charge him because it wouldn't meet the threshold for negligent. But Gen Rouleau reported himself immediately and pled guilty and got fined $2000.

From the Summary Trials I have seen, I have seen some Majors do a good job and some Majors who shouldn't be allowed to use a gavel at a Mess dinner much less in any sort of disciplinary hearing. I have seen what can only be described as institutional incompetence which resulted in a culture of doing summary trials behind closed doors, and sadly the Majors that did a good job and had a fair hearing, came to fair conclusions, and handed out fair sentences with fair considerations were also not observed by the troops as a result.

There is also great inconsistency among units on when the disciplinary system is actually used and when someone just decides to hand out 10 extras with no trial at all.

I think the inconsistency alone has shaken my confidence no matter how much I think we need our own disciplinary system and no matter how much I think units need to have that kind of tool at the unit level.
Many persons have a wrong idea of what constitutes true happiness. It is not attained through self-gratification, but through fidelity to a worthy purpose.
- Helen Keller

Offline FJAG

  • Army.ca Veteran
  • *****
  • 151,150
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 1,751
  • Ex Gladio Justicia
    • WordPress Page
Well, the summary trial already has a different burden of proof when compared to a court martial.  You do not need to have certainty beyond reasonable doubt.

The standard of proof is the same. The following is a quote from Military Justice Summary Trial 2.2 Ch 13

Quote
142. Findings refer to the presiding officer's determination as to whether it has been proven, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the accused committed the offence charged. They include determinations regarding the guilt of the accused for any included offence or an attempt to commit an offence with which the accused has been charged.

http://www.forces.gc.ca/en/about-reports-pubs-military-law-summary-trial-level/index.page

 :cheers:
Illegitimi non carborundum
Semper debeatis percutis ictu primo
Access my "Allies" book series at:
https://wolfriedel.wordpress.com

Offline FJAG

  • Army.ca Veteran
  • *****
  • 151,150
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 1,751
  • Ex Gladio Justicia
    • WordPress Page
I think "inconsistent" is the best word to describe what I've seen, which when it comes to justice.... is not good.

. . .

The CF have greatly improved the training that officers need to take before being certified to conduct summary trials.

Unfortunately there will always be some officers who are not as good as others and since we don't do summary trials on a daily basis and since there are some units/commands who have differing standards we will never reach a point where each and every delegated/commanding officer ever reaches the point of having done enough of them to become proficient at them much less experts.

The only way that I could see there being consistency would be if there was a small pool of legally trained officers who went on circuit to preside at summary trials. This is something I'm dead set against because I feel very strongly that the chain of command must have the authority to administer summary justice. It's simply naive to suggest that officers who are entrusted with the right to make life and death decisions in battle are incapable of making a determination as to whether a soldier should be punished for dirty boots etc. Like anything else, I would expect that if a certain delegated officer made a complete hash of a case then the word would gently go from the CSM to the delegated officer and in extreme cases from the CSM to the RSM and into the ear of the CO. This is why we have sergeants major (amongst a host of other things).

 :cheers:
Illegitimi non carborundum
Semper debeatis percutis ictu primo
Access my "Allies" book series at:
https://wolfriedel.wordpress.com

Offline Blackadder1916

  • Army.ca Veteran
  • *****
  • 157,950
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 2,788
I think "inconsistent" is the best word to describe what I've seen, which when it comes to justice.... is not good.

There were some allusions to senior/executive officers getting away with things that troops would be hung for... I think there are cases of that as was shown, I also look back to the LCol who got convicted TWICE for wearing medals she hadn't earned, and only got a severe reprimand each time.


If consistency is to be the watchword, then it behooves us to be consistent in presenting the actual facts and not what is incorrectly remembered.  The LCol was not convicted twice for illegally wearing medals; her first court martial was for falsifying results for a CF EXPRES test.  In addition to the severe reprimands she was also fined, $3000 and $5000.  However, I would agree that her treatment was comparatively more lenient than would likely have happened to a junior rank.

https://decisia.jmc-cmj.forces.gc.ca/jmc-cmj/cm/en/item/99015/index.do?r=AAAAAQAGTWlsbGVyAQ
https://decisia.jmc-cmj.forces.gc.ca/jmc-cmj/cm/en/item/98997/index.do?r=AAAAAQAGTWlsbGVyAQ
Whisky for the gentlemen that like it. And for the gentlemen that don't like it - Whisky.

Offline PuckChaser

  • Directing Staff
  • Army.ca Fixture
  • *
  • 908,945
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 7,920
    • Peacekeeper's Homepage
The standard of proof is the same. The following is a quote from Military Justice Summary Trial 2.2 Ch 13

It may appear that way to a lawyer, but to the average soldier who sees a LCol get off a ND charge because they refused to take ownership of wrong doing and blamed the system/training/etc, where a Cpl in a Summary Trial doesn't get that ability, it looks like a stacked deck with different rules depending on your rank.

Offline FJAG

  • Army.ca Veteran
  • *****
  • 151,150
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 1,751
  • Ex Gladio Justicia
    • WordPress Page
It may appear that way to a lawyer, but to the average soldier who sees a LCol get off a ND charge because they refused to take ownership of wrong doing and blamed the system/training/etc, where a Cpl in a Summary Trial doesn't get that ability, it looks like a stacked deck with different rules depending on your rank.

The fact that there are people out there who have the wrong idea because they'd rather listen to barrack room gossip then reading the reasons for decision published in a public forum isn't my problem.

I long ago stopped underestimating the general public's penchant for believing what they want to believe rather than what is true. We, and the system, shouldn't cater to them. Whatever we do to try to appease them won't be good enough anyway.

 :cheers:
Illegitimi non carborundum
Semper debeatis percutis ictu primo
Access my "Allies" book series at:
https://wolfriedel.wordpress.com

Offline PuckChaser

  • Directing Staff
  • Army.ca Fixture
  • *
  • 908,945
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 7,920
    • Peacekeeper's Homepage
I read the decisions, specifically from my tour in Afghanistan. Already cited is this example: https://decisia.jmc-cmj.forces.gc.ca/jmc-cmj/cm/en/item/99003/index.do

Pled not guilty (after I found 6 other LCols who pled guilty). Found not guilty due to technicalities of C7/C8 manuals and TSOs having "no evidence of being available" and that because he fired the round into the clearing bay it wasn't negligent. Cpl does the same thing, is in and out of a Summary Trial in 30 minutes with a guilty verdict.

Quote
[41]           The accused is of the opinion that the prosecution failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt the prejudice to good order and discipline because it did not demonstrate that he had actual knowledge or ought to have known the specific instructions and orders to which both charges referred to.
[59]           I would like to add that from the court's perspective, when a weapon's drill is done improperly causing a weapon to fire when it is not supposed to or when it is not authorized to, it does not constitute automatically a penal negligence offence in the meaning of section 129 of the National Defence Act.

Good luck using that defense at your unit. I can also personally attest that because idiots who couldn't remember their drills, I spent the entire time deployed in Kabul (at the same time as LCol Nauss) at least once a week in FFO behind my barracks going over TOETs because there was another ND.

For him to claim he didn't have knowledge of the orders and handling instructions is absolutely laughable, and perhaps worse still is that the prosecution was inept enough to be unable to prove he should have reasonably known what he was doing in a theatre of war with his service rifle.

Online ballz

    ...

  • Army.ca Subscriber
  • Army.ca Veteran
  • *
  • 109,041
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 2,153
If consistency is to be the watchword, then it behooves us to be consistent in presenting the actual facts and not what is incorrectly remembered.  The LCol was not convicted twice for illegally wearing medals; her first court martial was for falsifying results for a CF EXPRES test.  In addition to the severe reprimands she was also fined, $3000 and $5000.  However, I would agree that her treatment was comparatively more lenient than would likely have happened to a junior rank.

https://decisia.jmc-cmj.forces.gc.ca/jmc-cmj/cm/en/item/99015/index.do?r=AAAAAQAGTWlsbGVyAQ
https://decisia.jmc-cmj.forces.gc.ca/jmc-cmj/cm/en/item/98997/index.do?r=AAAAAQAGTWlsbGVyAQ

 :surrender:

 :cheers: to keeping me accountable... although now that my memory is properly refreshed, I think I'm more miffed about it then when I wrote that.
Many persons have a wrong idea of what constitutes true happiness. It is not attained through self-gratification, but through fidelity to a worthy purpose.
- Helen Keller

Offline daftandbarmy

  • Army.ca Legend
  • *****
  • 212,925
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 12,338
  • The Older I Get, The Better I Was
I read the decisions, specifically from my tour in Afghanistan. Already cited is this example: https://decisia.jmc-cmj.forces.gc.ca/jmc-cmj/cm/en/item/99003/index.do

Pled not guilty (after I found 6 other LCols who pled guilty). Found not guilty due to technicalities of C7/C8 manuals and TSOs having "no evidence of being available" and that because he fired the round into the clearing bay it wasn't negligent. Cpl does the same thing, is in and out of a Summary Trial in 30 minutes with a guilty verdict.

Good luck using that defense at your unit. I can also personally attest that because idiots who couldn't remember their drills, I spent the entire time deployed in Kabul (at the same time as LCol Nauss) at least once a week in FFO behind my barracks going over TOETs because there was another ND.

For him to claim he didn't have knowledge of the orders and handling instructions is absolutely laughable, and perhaps worse still is that the prosecution was inept enough to be unable to prove he should have reasonably known what he was doing in a theatre of war with his service rifle.

In NI we had a (very self-satisfied and annoying) OC found guilty and fined 1000 quid for having an ND on an operation, during a big cordon and search op. It took about two days to do the business on him, as I recall, including extracting him from a trench in the South Armagh cuds.

We thanked the Karma Gods, of course ;)
"The most important qualification of a soldier is fortitude under fatigue and privation. Courage is only second; hardship, poverty and want are the best school for a soldier." Napoleon

Offline whiskey601

  • Army.ca Veteran
  • *****
  • 24,985
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 3,640
In NI we had a (very self-satisfied and annoying) OC found guilty and fined 1000 quid for having an ND on an operation, during a big cordon and search op. It took about two days to do the business on him, as I recall, including extracting him from a trench in the South Armagh cuds.

We thanked the Karma Gods, of course ;)

I'm sorry, but in a Monty Python context that reads like the OC was rudely beating off regularly in a trench.

Offline daftandbarmy

  • Army.ca Legend
  • *****
  • 212,925
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 12,338
  • The Older I Get, The Better I Was
I'm sorry, but in a Monty Python context that reads like the OC was rudely beating off regularly in a trench.

Hmmm... thinking about his rifle coy at the time, you're probably not far wrong ;)

As an aside, he was back in the field the next day, which is an excellent example of summary justice in action IMHO.
"The most important qualification of a soldier is fortitude under fatigue and privation. Courage is only second; hardship, poverty and want are the best school for a soldier." Napoleon

Offline pbi

  • Army.ca Subscriber
  • Army.ca Veteran
  • *
  • 52,725
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 3,961
"...Some senior military brass told the report’s authors they believed some serious offenses would be better handled in the civilian justice system...."

No, please. Don't tell me we have senior officers who actually want this? IIRC we already don't try the most serious criminal offenses: what "some serious offenses" are they referring to?
The Nation that makes a great distinction between its scholars and its warriors will have its thinking done by cowards and its fighting done by fools. ...

The true measure of a man is what he would do if he knew he never would be found out...