Author Topic: Operation HONOUR discussion  (Read 102906 times)

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Offline Navy_Pete

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Re: Operation HONOUR discussion
« Reply #125 on: September 16, 2019, 14:31:12 »
Got to be an honest, really not a big fan of the news releases like this. Sure, it's all public record, but the name/shame never results in a follow up if the person is found not guilty or the charges are dropped.  This is more of a political theater act then anything else under the OP HONOUR banner, and in the PR world, this is an active posture, so it's quite deliberate, and they tend to include some details.  If they took the same posture when the results are in, would be fine, but there they always fall back on a reactive posture, with prepared media release lines hanging around in case someone asks a question, but there are no media releases.

Reading the recent judgements, there is usually a better than even odds for an acquittal, and this seems like additional public persecution that undermines the presumption of innocence. Understand that it's a pretty high bar to meet, but they seem to be getting more aggressive about laying charges and going to CM with very little chance of conviction. They at least used to have a throw away line about the presumption of innocence of the accused, but that got binned a while ago.

This kind of stuff very easily veers into the realm of being excessively heavy handed, especially as they can still be punted under an AR even if they are found not guilty.

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Re: Operation HONOUR discussion
« Reply #126 on: September 16, 2019, 14:45:07 »
They at least used to have a throw away line about the presumption of innocence of the accused, but that got binned a while ago.

Quote
•In all cases, the subject of charges is presumed innocent until proven guilty.
https://www.canada.ca/en/department-national-defence/news/2019/09/sexual-assault-charge-laid-against-military-officer-in-borden-on.html

Offline Navy_Pete

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Re: Operation HONOUR discussion
« Reply #127 on: September 16, 2019, 16:27:01 »
D'oh, thanks.  It used to be in the main body; didn't realize there was a 'quick facts' section as the stuff below the multimedia is usually boilerplate BS.

In general, realize this is normal police services practice, but big difference between a police blotter note and a press release from DND.

Offline Blackadder1916

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Re: Operation HONOUR discussion
« Reply #128 on: September 16, 2019, 20:29:36 »

In general, realize this is normal police services practice, but big difference between a police blotter note and a press release from DND.

Since the "Media Contact" for this press release is "Public Affairs Officer Canadian Forces Provost Marshal and Canadian Forces Military Police Group", it is de facto no different than any other police service in Canada.  The only difference is that such events are comparatively rare when the "community" is the CAF.  If it was a small city of roughly 70,000 and a prominent citizen was charged or it was any serious offence, the local police service would be making the same statements.  However, since the participants of this forum have a greater interest in all things military (and may have personal acquaintance of the accused and/or victims) then such announcements resonate to a greater extent. 
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Offline garb811

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Re: Operation HONOUR discussion
« Reply #129 on: September 17, 2019, 00:22:39 »
Got to be an honest, really not a big fan of the news releases like this. Sure, it's all public record, but the name/shame never results in a follow up if the person is found not guilty or the charges are dropped.  This is more of a political theater act then anything else under the OP HONOUR banner, and in the PR world, this is an active posture, so it's quite deliberate, and they tend to include some details.  If they took the same posture when the results are in, would be fine, but there they always fall back on a reactive posture, with prepared media release lines hanging around in case someone asks a question, but there are no media releases.
...
Wow, I guess Op HONOUR has been underway a lot longer than I realized if that is the reason for these news releases...
Military Police lay charges against a member of the Cadet Instructors Cadre (Feb 2012)
Sexual Assault Charges Laid For Incidents (Sep 2010)

Note that this is not something that is done only for sexual assault charges. A few examples of those:
Soldier Will Face Charges in Shooting Death (Jul 2008)
Charges Laid for Corruption of a Database (Aug 2008)
Canadian Forces National Investigation Service lays drug-related charges against nurse in Edmonton (Sep 2013)
Drug possession for the purpose of trafficking charges laid against civilian community member (Dec 2018)

Some simple examples in the civilian world showing this isn't a practice unique to the CAF:
Ottawa man accused of sexual assault, harassment of teen girls (Ottawa)
Toronto teacher facing new sexual assault charges (Toronto, with a pic of the accused)
Sexual assault charges laid against 70 year old Prince Rupert resident
Additional sexual assault and child exploitation charges laid against Lethbridge man
Blood Tribe officer charged with sexual assault

So, how is this, "...more of a political theater act then anything else under the OP HONOUR banner...," again?
+300

Offline Eaglelord17

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Re: Operation HONOUR discussion
« Reply #130 on: September 17, 2019, 06:10:53 »
Got to be an honest, really not a big fan of the news releases like this. Sure, it's all public record, but the name/shame never results in a follow up if the person is found not guilty or the charges are dropped.  This is more of a political theater act then anything else under the OP HONOUR banner, and in the PR world, this is an active posture, so it's quite deliberate, and they tend to include some details.  If they took the same posture when the results are in, would be fine, but there they always fall back on a reactive posture, with prepared media release lines hanging around in case someone asks a question, but there are no media releases.

Reading the recent judgements, there is usually a better than even odds for an acquittal, and this seems like additional public persecution that undermines the presumption of innocence. Understand that it's a pretty high bar to meet, but they seem to be getting more aggressive about laying charges and going to CM with very little chance of conviction. They at least used to have a throw away line about the presumption of innocence of the accused, but that got binned a while ago.

This kind of stuff very easily veers into the realm of being excessively heavy handed, especially as they can still be punted under an AR even if they are found not guilty.

Personally I am not really a fan of public news releases of the accused even in civilian context as people judge before the evidence is portrayed. However even if they are found 'not guilty' or the charges dropped, doesn't mean they didn't do it. When they are on the stand they are not proving their innocence (like the French system), they are simply not being proven guilty (which is especially hard in cases of sexual assault, as most come forward years afterwards, and the evidence is mostly witness based) a huge difference. This is a big reason I like the Scottish wording of 'not proven' as you still may have done it, we just failed to prove that you did.

Offline Brad Sallows

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Re: Operation HONOUR discussion
« Reply #131 on: September 17, 2019, 12:18:39 »
The Scottish "not proven" verdict is one of those things that is not what many people think it is.  In particular, it does not mean "we think you did it, but can't prove it" (most common misrepresentation I've heard).  "Not guilty" and "not proven" are both statements of acquittal in a system which places the burden of proof on the accuser.  The possibility of actual guilt is open regardless how the verdict is stated.  (When proof of innocence arises, charges are usually dropped and a verdict is never required.)

It remains that an accusation of a crime of sexual nature tends to stain the accused almost irreparably.  Because innocence need not be irrefutably proven, those who wish to believe in guilt will always have a reed to grasp.
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Offline garb811

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Re: Operation HONOUR discussion
« Reply #132 on: September 17, 2019, 15:12:09 »
....

It remains that an accusation of a crime of sexual nature tends to stain the accused almost irreparably.  Because innocence need not be irrefutably proven, those who wish to believe in guilt will always have a reed to grasp.
And lost in the ongoing angst about the "harm" being done to the accused by the publication of the charges being laid is the fact that charges are not laid on a whim. There must be reasonable grounds to believe the offence was committed. Although not as high of a standard as the beyond a reasonable doubt required to convict, it is still a fairly high bar which must be cleared and one which requires that any reasonable person, who has access to the same information as the person laying the charge, would form the same opinion.

When you throw in the process of how we work in the CSD system, the chances of a sexual assault charge being laid by one person on their own volition is exceptionally unlikely. By the time a sexual assault charge is being laid, there have been multiple levels of review on the investigation, both within the CFNIS as well as by the RMP. Any one of those people involved can put the brakes on any charges being laid, either while further information/evidence is gathered, or over all if the elements of the offence just aren't met.
+300 « Last Edit: September 17, 2019, 15:36:51 by garb811 »

Offline Brad Sallows

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Re: Operation HONOUR discussion
« Reply #133 on: September 17, 2019, 21:18:04 »
That's reassuring, but someone who was reasonably charged and then reasonably found not guilty is what I wrote about (charges presumably precede a verdict).
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Offline garb811

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Re: Operation HONOUR discussion
« Reply #134 on: September 18, 2019, 10:56:48 »
That's reassuring, but someone who was reasonably charged and then reasonably found not guilty is what I wrote about (charges presumably precede a verdict).
And that verdict is publicly accessible, along with the full reasoning by the Military Judge for that finding.
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Offline Brad Sallows

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Re: Operation HONOUR discussion
« Reply #135 on: September 18, 2019, 16:34:47 »
Great.  So there must be no people, then, whose lives and reputations are in ruins despite a lack of a conviction.

Process isn't the issue; pounding on it doesn't fix the problem.
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Offline ballz

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Re: Operation HONOUR discussion
« Reply #136 on: September 18, 2019, 19:22:07 »
There must be reasonable grounds to believe the offence was committed. Although not as high of a standard as the beyond a reasonable doubt required to convict, it is still a fairly high bar

Not really sure I agree that is a high bar. I'd be more inclined to agree if the burden of "reasonable prospect of conviction" had been met before a charge is laid. How many times do we see someone charged with something and then by the time it gets to court it's already been lowered because there was no reasonable prospect of a conviction. Not sure you should have your name plastered in the national media for sexual assault when there wasn't even a reasonable prospect of a conviction to begin with.

I'm pretty sure reasonable prospect to believe is actually below balance of probabilities... in other words, the allegation doesn't even need to be 51% likely to be true before you're charged. Hardly seems like a high bar.
« Last Edit: September 18, 2019, 19:27:57 by ballz »
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Offline exCAFguy

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Re: Operation HONOUR discussion
« Reply #137 on: September 19, 2019, 09:27:51 »
In my experience the “levels of vetting” were not done in an anyway competent matter by anyone.

I can’t tell you the number of times when I was in the branch that the file was “closely vetted by senior MPs and the RMP to ensure the grounds for a charge were there” only to literally have the charges withdrawn weeks later for no reasonable prospect of conviction.

Of course the damage was done to the person by then though
« Last Edit: September 19, 2019, 09:34:56 by exCAFguy »

Offline dapaterson

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Re: Operation HONOUR discussion
« Reply #138 on: September 19, 2019, 11:07:26 »
And lost in the ongoing angst about the "harm" being done to the accused by the publication of the charges being laid is the fact that charges are not laid on a whim. There must be reasonable grounds to believe the offence was committed. Although not as high of a standard as the beyond a reasonable doubt required to convict, it is still a fairly high bar which must be cleared and one which requires that any reasonable person, who has access to the same information as the person laying the charge, would form the same opinion.

When you throw in the process of how we work in the CSD system, the chances of a sexual assault charge being laid by one person on their own volition is exceptionally unlikely. By the time a sexual assault charge is being laid, there have been multiple levels of review on the investigation, both within the CFNIS as well as by the RMP. Any one of those people involved can put the brakes on any charges being laid, either while further information/evidence is gathered, or over all if the elements of the offence just aren't met.

Except...

Quote
On Thursday August 29, 2019, the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service (CFNIS) charged Chief Warrant Officer Duncan Colin Stewart, a Reserve Force member working at 1 Canadian Air Division Headquarter in Winnipeg, with one charge of sexual assault.

Further to ongoing investigative actions by the CFNIS, Chief Warrant Officer Stewart is no longer considered a suspect, or person of interest, in relation to this offence.  As such, the charge against CWO Stewart has been withdrawn by military authorities and proceedings against the member were terminated.

https://www.canada.ca/en/department-national-defence/news/2019/09/sexual-assault-charge-withdrawn-against-military-member-in-winnipeg-mb.html
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Offline QV

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Re: Operation HONOUR discussion
« Reply #139 on: September 19, 2019, 11:22:13 »
Colour me not surprised. The timing of this could not be better to support Ballz, exCAFguy, and Brad Sallows positions on this.  I wonder how many of those don't make a public news releases.
« Last Edit: September 19, 2019, 11:26:25 by QV »

Offline exCAFguy

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Re: Operation HONOUR discussion
« Reply #140 on: September 19, 2019, 11:39:53 »
The reality when it comes to sexual assault type investigations is, sadly, the investigator is put in a bad spot and usually wears it quietly after the fact when things go south.

The MP branch right now is plagued with trying to police an organization in which it comes from the top levels that sexual related misconduct be dealt with.  Far too often, myself or my peers (the low-mid rank peasants) would investigate a matter and report up that there was not enough grounds to proceed.  In my current police service, when an investigator says that, that’s it and the matter is done.

The MP on the other hand, is plagued by micromanagement, incompetence, and yes men at the top and, as such, investigators are often ordered by Capt/Maj/MWO Bloggins to go lay the charge (likely because they don’t want to risk PER points if someone has uncomfortable questions as to why a matter was deemed concluded.)  Peoples lives are in turn ruined and turned upside down (see LCol Stalker) and the investigator is labelled as incompetent even though he/she recommended not to move forwarded but was ordered to anyways.  Of course, Capt/Maj/MWO Bloggins doesn’t take responsibility for it and throws the investigator under the bus.

I’m sure I come off as bitter in this post, and that couldn’t be further from the truth.  I enjoyed my time in the branch and left for no reason other than some geographic stability.  Having said that, I’m not afraid to call a spade a spade and I’m concerned the direction the Military Police is heading when it comes to how it’s run and how this sexual misconduct epidemic is being handled.
« Last Edit: September 19, 2019, 11:42:25 by exCAFguy »

Offline garb811

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Re: Operation HONOUR discussion
« Reply #141 on: September 19, 2019, 16:48:40 »
So, if I buy into the idea that we shouldn't be making the names of those who have been charged with sexual assault public, what's the solution? Just not publish names of people who are charged until the court martial is published (which is a requirement)? What about the problem caused when the person is subsequently found not guilty, isn't the damage to their reputation just as bad because they are still simply accused at that point? That likely wouldn't work anyway because one of the usual defence reporters would just put in a standing monthly ATIP for any sexual assault charges and the names would still come out.

For what it is worth, this is what the courts have had to say about publishing the names of those who have been simply charged and I'm inclined to agree with the reasoning, particularly since we in the CAF seem to like to pride ourselves on our logical reasoning skills (emphasis is mine):
Quote
R v Sauve
...
[27]           It is well-established that a statement that a person has been charged with an offence, as opposed to a statement that a person is guilty of an offence, is deemed not to lower that person in the estimation of a reasonable person, because a reasonable person “would be mindful that an accused is presumed innocent until proven guilty” (Miguna v. Toronto (City) Police Services Board, [2004] O.J. No. 2455 at par. 6 (On. Sup. Ct. J.), aff’d Miguna v. Toronto (City) Police Services Board   [2005] O.J. No. 107 (On. C.A.); see also Hakim v. Laidlaw Transit Ltd., 156 A.C.W.S. (3d) 585, [2007] O.J. No. 1318 at par. 16 (On. Sup. Ct. J.)).

[28]           The Zoominfo article states that Mr Sauvé has been charged, and that a bail hearing has been held. It does not say that he has been found guilty of anything; indeed a well-informed reader would know that a bail hearing precedes a trial and could only conclude that no finding of guilt can have been made. Thus, as a matter of law, I am of the opinion that the article is not a defamatory statement.
...

Charges being laid and then withdrawn is not a uniquely CAF problem. It can even happen with an "all star" investigation and prosecution team. IIRC, the entire case imploded rather spectacularly on this one...:
Quote
Two sexual assault charges withdrawn in Ghomeshi case
Two sexual assault charges are being withdrawn in the case against disgraced former broadcaster Jian Ghomeshi.

In an appearance Tuesday at a Toronto court, a Crown lawyer said the charges were being withdrawn because there was no reasonable prospect of conviction on them.

...
The MP on the other hand, is plagued by micromanagement, incompetence, and yes men at the top and, as such, investigators are often ordered by Capt/Maj/MWO Bloggins to go lay the charge (likely because they don’t want to risk PER points if someone has uncomfortable questions as to why a matter was deemed concluded.)  Peoples lives are in turn ruined and turned upside down (see LCol Stalker) and the investigator is labelled as incompetent even though he/she recommended not to move forwarded but was ordered to anyways.  Of course, Capt/Maj/MWO Bloggins doesn’t take responsibility for it and throws the investigator under the bus.
...
LCol Stalker is a particularly bad example to try to make this point with, unless you are insinuating you have some kind of insider knowledge on the case. The investigation and arrest pre-date Op HONOUR, the prosecutor was not military, his charges were laid downtown and he was ordered to stand trial after the prelim... He has also since been promoted and posted to a NATO as the deputy chief of major operations.
« Last Edit: September 19, 2019, 16:52:56 by garb811 »

Offline FJAG

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Re: Operation HONOUR discussion
« Reply #142 on: September 19, 2019, 18:25:50 »
So, if I buy into the idea that we shouldn't be making the names of those who have been charged with sexual assault public, what's the solution? ...

Not that this is THE solution but I note that in news articles in Germany there is a greater balance in protecting an individual (even an accused's) privacy which stems from guideline 8.1 of the Press code. See here: https://www.presserat.de/fileadmin/user_upload/Downloads_Dateien/Pressekodex13english_web.pdf

More often than not individuals are identified as "a 38 year old man" or "Heinz B."

Interestingly enough, however, since the massive influx of migrants, several states, in their police reports, are now identifying the accused's national status whether relevant to the case or not. See here for example:

https://www.dw.com/en/police-in-western-german-state-to-reveal-nationality-in-all-crimes/a-50177056

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« Last Edit: September 19, 2019, 19:29:04 by FJAG »
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Offline ballz

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Re: Operation HONOUR discussion
« Reply #143 on: September 19, 2019, 19:18:56 »
So, if I buy into the idea that we shouldn't be making the names of those who have been charged with sexual assault public, what's the solution?

I can't speak for anybody else but I didn't suggest the names of the accused shouldn't be made public (I also didn't bring this into an MP-related thing, because it's not). As I said, the bar for laying a charge is low. It should be at least balance of probabilities, or even reasonable prospect for conviction.

At the end of the day, if there's a reasonable prospect of conviction, I can at least guess that whether you are guilty or not, you're in that court room for a reason that are a result of your own actions, and I don't think the public should protect your from your own actions even if they aren't determined to be criminal.

But at "reasonable grounds to believe," a couple of corroborating witness statements which really haven't been tested at all for credibility and you've got sexual assault charges that were not a result of anything in the accused's control. I'm sure all the LEOs are going to come tell me that's not true, and all I can say is I know the exact case I can refer you to where that is exactly what happened. If the burden of proof for charges was "reasonable prospect of conviction" this particular incident would not result in the accused having to get his name legally changed after having 4 sexual assault charges against 3 different women plastered all over the national news.
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Offline garb811

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Re: Operation HONOUR discussion
« Reply #144 on: September 19, 2019, 19:24:05 »
FJAG:

That used to be the way it was done but it was changed at some point in the 2000s I believe:

Charges laid - assault, uttering threats, using provoking speech and conduct to the prejudice of good order and discipline
Quote
On May 3, the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service (CFNIS) laid charges of assault, uttering threats, using provoking speech and conduct to the prejudice of good order and discipline against a former petty-officer second class of HMCS MONTCALM, a naval reserve unit located in Quebec City. The charge results from an incident, which allegedly occurred in Halifax in June 1998 during the Nova Scotia International Tattoo.
...
When the CFNIS lays charges, names can be released only if these charges are laid in civilian courts. This is done by way of an information sworn before a judicial official and filed as a court document. In the case of charges laid in the military system, charges are not laid under oath before a judicial official, nor are charge reports filed as public court records. As such, names of individuals charged under the National Defence Act is information covered by the Privacy Act, and can not be released to the public unless the Privacy Commission Office gives specific authorization.

Offline Brad Sallows

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Re: Operation HONOUR discussion
« Reply #145 on: September 19, 2019, 23:24:03 »
>because a reasonable person “would be mindful that an accused is presumed innocent until proven guilty”

That only works if most people are reasonable, or if "an accused is presumed innocent until proven guilty" is hammered home loudly and repeatedly and the people who act otherwise are ridiculed, shunned, and argued into insensibility.  My impression is that there are a lot of loud, unreasonable people dominating the issue.
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Offline ballz

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Re: Operation HONOUR discussion
« Reply #146 on: September 20, 2019, 00:03:36 »
Regardless of innocent until proven guilty, I would say an employer who googles the names of applicants and finds one has been charged with sexual assault in the past is going to be pretty "reasonable" in throwing out that application, even if the charges were dropped the following day because Crown prosecutor looked at the evidence and decided there was no chance of conviction.
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Offline Jarnhamar

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Re: Operation HONOUR discussion
« Reply #147 on: September 21, 2019, 23:31:52 »
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Re: Operation HONOUR discussion
« Reply #149 on: October 01, 2019, 09:39:00 »
In the news,

Quote
CTV News

September 30, 2019

VICTORIA -- A former Canadian Armed Forces corporal has been found guilty of multiple charges, including sexual assault and voyeurism, after investigators say they found several videos in his possession, including video of a sex assault that occurred at CFB Esquimalt in 2011.
https://vancouverisland.ctvnews.ca/former-military-corporal-found-guilty-in-esquimalt-sex-assault-1.4617346#_gus&_gucid=&_gup=twitter&_gsc=2LisF1K