• Thanks for stopping by. Logging in to a registered account will remove all generic ads. Please reach out with any questions or concerns.

Former Canadian Forces officer sues federal government over mistaken identity...

OceanBonfire

Sr. Member
Reaction score
46
Points
330
Former Canadian Forces officer sues federal government over mistaken identity in sexual assault case

Officer seeks special damages, alleges ‘egregious and outrageous mistake’ in charging wrong person

qNIM0wl.png



A retired Winnipeg air force officer is suing the Canadian government over an alleged case of mistaken identity after he was charged with sexual assault, only to have the case dropped after it was determined he had the same middle and last name as the person meant to be charged.

The claim was filed in Manitoba's Court of Queen's Bench last week. It seeks damages for the recently-retired officer, who served 36 years in the Canadian Armed Forces and Royal Canadian Air Force.

The man alleges in court documents that the "egregious error" has "forever soiled his image and reputation within the Royal Canadian Air Force".


Charge laid at 17 Wing Winnipeg

The officer was formally charged Aug. 29, 2019 at 17 Wing air force base in Winnipeg with one count of sexual assault under Section 130 of the National Defence Act.

At the time, it was alleged that he sexually assaulted a Canadian Armed Forces member in 1996 at Kingston, Ontario.

Despite his repeated requests during the investigation, he alleges he was not provided with the identity of the complainant nor any details on the specific allegations.

The plaintiff also alleges he was not provided with a full disclosure package until after the charge was laid.

He was then informed by a colonel that the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service (CFNIS) "had identified and charged the wrong person; apparently there was a CAF (Canadian Armed Forces) noncommissioned officer with an identical middle and surname but different first name," according to the man's statement of claim.

It said the plaintiff worked in a different branch of the air force than the individual who was the proper target of the investigation.

Within moments of learning about the error, the colonel notified the air force chain of command, according to the claim.


News release issued

Nevertheless, a news release detailing the charge was distributed Sept. 9, 2019, identifying the plaintiff by name. The man's claim alleges it was issued with the full knowledge that the wrong person had been charged.

There are multiple individuals with the same surname within the 100,000 members of the air force in Canada, the plaintiff alleges. When he searched online "it took him less than a few minutes to learn the identity of the proper suspect's name and present location," the claim says.

Four days after the news release, the plaintiff got a phone call from a senior officer advising him he was "no longer a person of interest" and that the charge would be withdrawn.

The plaintiff alleges the original news release remained on the Canadian Air Force website for more than seven days before it was removed at the plaintiff's request.

Two days after the release was removed from the website, the Canadian Forces investigation service published a notice that the charge had been withdrawn and the plaintiff was "no longer a suspect or person of interest", according to the claim.

It alleges that at no time did the defendants "indicate in any press releases or any other public manner, that they had simply made an egregious error, and that the plaintiff was simply the wrong person, and had nothing to do with the allegations whatsoever, nor did they provide any apology to the plaintiff."

The individuals named as defendants were involved in the sexual assault investigation "but none of them bothered to check with the alleged complainant whether the plaintiff was the person who assaulted her," the court document says.

It also alleges the air force has a photograph of each member, but at no time did the investigators show the criminal complainant a photo of the plaintiff, "which would have demonstrated he was not the proper suspect."

The plaintiff alleges the press release announcing the sexual assault charge was defamatory and subjected him to contempt and disrespect.


Conduct 'grossly negligent': plaintiff

His claim says he felt compelled "as a husband and parent, and a child of living parents, to advise them of the allegations being made against him; this created an intense hardship on the plaintiff."

The court document calls the defendants' conduct "grossly negligent" and a case of malicious prosecution.

The refusal of the investigative service "to issue a second press release acknowledging their error and stating that the plaintiff was simply the wrong person named by virtue of an egregious and outrageous mistake, further complicated and exacerbated the damages suffered by the plaintiff," the claim says.

The lawsuit seeks special damages for income loss and pension deficiencies, alleging the criminal allegations caused the plaintiff to lose a promotion and the associated pay increase and pension benefits at retirement.

CBC News contacted National Defence and justice department officials for a response to the lawsuit but did not receive a reply.

The allegations have not been proven in court.

The plaintiff's lawyer, Robert Tapper, told CBC News his client declines to comment on the lawsuit.

In addition to the Government of Canada, the statement of claim names six individuals as defendants in connection with the sexual assault investigation.

A statement of defence has not yet been filed.


https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/canadian-forces-officer-winnipeg-lawsuit-1.5539105
 

Haggis

Army.ca Veteran
Reaction score
615
Points
910
Interesting.

I was dogged for years by the service and criminal record of another CAF member with the same first and last name, a different middle name (same initial) and very similar DOBs.  On several occasions over the years at traffic stops by the MP and local/provincial police I was asked to prove my middle name because my driver's licence only had my first name and middle initial. In one case the conversation went like this:

LEO:  "What's your middle name?"
Me: "XXXX"
LEO: "Can you prove it?  If you can't you're going to jail."

I finally had my middle name added to my driver's licence.
 

Weinie

Army.ca Veteran
Reaction score
1,153
Points
1,010
Infanteer said:
Unlucky or unfair?  :-X

Actually, appears to be gross negligence. Guy had a different DOB, SIN, SN, likely employment history, rank...the list goes on and on. Can't even begin to imagine what he went through. Poor SOB.
 

Old Sweat

Army.ca Fixture
Donor
Reaction score
56
Points
480
Shortly after I retired I received a letter from the NDHQ pension folks informing me that because of a court order, my superannuation was being reduced retroactively in order to meet the terms of an a settlement. After beaucoup phone calls, I finally found an official in the "income tax department" who agreed to look into it for me. Surprise, he soon phoned back to let me know there had been a ruling against another ex-service member with the same first and last name in a divorce case in Edmonton. He advised me he had told the pension folks they had the wrong person and to fix it ASAP. They did, and I think I got a short letter telling me the previous correspondence had been cancelled. To save ink, they left out words like "regret" and "sorry".
 

OldSolduer

Army.ca Legend
Reaction score
1,435
Points
910
Weinie said:
Actually, appears to be gross negligence. Guy had a different DOB, SIN, SN, likely employment history, rank...the list goes on and on. Can't even begin to imagine what he went through. Poor SOB.
Tthe Winnipeg Free Press ran this story this morning. To be honest I'm not surprised the NIS made a mess of this.

 

PuckChaser

Moderator
Staff member
Directing Staff
Mentor
Reaction score
577
Points
1,060
Old Sweat said:
Shortly after I retired I received a letter from the NDHQ pension folks informing me that because of a court order, my superannuation was being reduced retroactively in order to meet the terms of an a settlement. After beaucoup phone calls, I finally found an official in the "income tax department" who agreed to look into it for me. Surprise, he soon phoned back to let me know there had been a ruling against another ex-service member with the same first and last name in a divorce case in Edmonton. He advised me he had told the pension folks they had the wrong person and to fix it ASAP. They did, and I think I got a short letter telling me the previous correspondence had been cancelled. To save ink, they left out words like "regret" and "sorry".

Similar situation for me, I CT'd in 2009 and was entitled to Recruitment Allowance. Got a letter saying my file was reviewed and because I had prior RegF service I wasn't entitled. Immediately emailed my broker and asked if they had the right person... she replied they did not. I have a pretty unique last name so unless they pulled my father's service record when trying to get mine, I have no idea how they'd screw that up.
 

QM

Jr. Member
Reaction score
1
Points
130
A google search brings up the stories from last August, with the poor guy's name still showing. Interstingly he was a Chief. The lame duck Canadian press corps continues to mis-understand the most basis things about the Canadian military; it is no surprise they (deftly aided by our own PA organizations) run error-filled and erroeneous stories. 

I've always felt that people who get front page attention when they are accused of something, should get front page attention when they are acquitted, rather than a small paragraph on page 34.
 

Navy_Pete

Army.ca Veteran
Subscriber
Reaction score
505
Points
1,040
Hope he wins, and makes a precedence where they put out press releases specifically exonerating someone if something like this happens after a charge is laid and publicized. Especially in the age of google and those press releases surviving forever, they should be amended and updated so that future employers don't kill off your application over the CFNIS negligence.

Years ago, got a call from an RCMP officer who wanted to talk to me; though it was a follow up on a traffic accident or similar I had witnessed, as that's where they had my number from. Turns out it was a date rape of some kind with someone with (using?) the same name as me, but got called because they had my name on file. Had to do some panicked search to send a link of my photo in a publication to get ruled out, but was really nervous for a bit. And that never even went as far as a charge, which would have been devastating.
 

Weinie

Army.ca Veteran
Reaction score
1,153
Points
1,010
Log Offr said:
A google search brings up the stories from last August, with the poor guy's name still showing. Interstingly he was a Chief. The lame duck Canadian press corps continues to mis-understand the most basis things about the Canadian military; it is no surprise they (deftly aided by our own PA organizations) run error-filled and erroeneous stories. 

I've always felt that people who get front page attention when they are accused of something, should get front page attention when they are acquitted, rather than a small paragraph on page 34.

Pardon? Care to elaborate?
 

Haggis

Army.ca Veteran
Reaction score
615
Points
910
As Log Offr did, I ran a quick Google search using parameters identified in the original post and was able to find several articles in both English and French identifying the member by name and the charge he faced, but only one correction.  Any potential employer or volunteer organization he may wish to work with in the future will likely come up with the same damning information.

I hope he wins BIG!
 

QM

Jr. Member
Reaction score
1
Points
130
How on earth does someone think this comment is 'trolling'. Good grief. Someone asked me to elaborate on a post I made, and not knowing what part of the post he wanted explained, I asked him in the politest and most professional tone possible, what he wanted me to explain. That's it. I will withhold any further comments, but.... good grief.....
 

PuckChaser

Moderator
Staff member
Directing Staff
Mentor
Reaction score
577
Points
1,060
Log Offr said:
Sure. What part do you need to have elaborated?

Its the "deftly aided by our PA organizations" comment you had in there.  It was bolded and italicized in his quote of your post but that might not display for you if you're using mobile or Tapatalk.
 

Navy_Pete

Army.ca Veteran
Subscriber
Reaction score
505
Points
1,040
PuckChaser said:
Its the "deftly aided by our PA organizations" comment you had in there.  It was bolded and italicized in his quote of your post but that might not display for you if you're using mobile or Tapatalk.

I'm not sure what the confusion is about in his statement; generally the PAFOs shit the bed when it comes to explaining things correctly because they don't want to "complicate things and confuse people". Anyone that has had any kind of technical issue that had to collaborate on MRLs (media release lines) can probably confirm this. Or they take a "passive media approach" and never correct errors, so they stand in reporting.

Why would ranks be any different? This happens all the times with defence reporters saying Warrants and up are officers, but never gets corrected. If defence reporters can't get that straight, why would normal reporters be any better?  :dunno:
 

AirDet

Full Member
Subscriber
Reaction score
6
Points
230
As a former HI, I just can't imagine someone making such a huge mistake and then not making it better. And someone thought it would be better to take HI away from the units in favour of centralized HI.

I hope this guy wins a good sized settlement.
 

Weinie

Army.ca Veteran
Reaction score
1,153
Points
1,010
Navy_Pete said:
I'm not sure what the confusion is about in his statement; generally the PAFOs crap the bed when it comes to explaining things correctly because they don't want to "complicate things and confuse people". Anyone that has had any kind of technical issue that had to collaborate on MRLs (media release lines) can probably confirm this. Or they take a "passive media approach" and never correct errors, so they stand in reporting.

Why would ranks be any different? This happens all the times with defence reporters saying Warrants and up are officers, but never gets corrected. If defence reporters can't get that straight, why would normal reporters be any better?  :dunno:

Am quite interested in examples of where PAO's have crapped the bed  'because they don't want to "complicate things and confuse people".[/b][/i]

Proof please.
 
Top