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Operation HONOUR discussion

Navy_Pete

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Underway said:
I also think that the press doesn't know the difference between a deployment and just normal navy sails to Europe for other training/diplomatic reasons.  Some more confusion may have resulted from that as well.

Probably because the Navy doesn't really make a distinction or upsells TGEx activities. When we were in the Med a few years ago running around with SNMG2 doing all the things, the big story on the front page of the Lookout was practicing them in Cutlass Fury. Unless there is a specific bust or something, the Navy does a really shite job at communicating anything other than a ship is gone for a while. Was especially annoying as we were actually doing some interesting stuff. Got more coverage in the Russian press then our own. OPsec weeks after the fact is a bit lame when our movements were live streamed or otherwise reported ahead of time by local agencies. If people in Syria, Turkey etc knew where we were, bit silly to worry about Canadians knowing.

 

Stoker

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kratz said:
Yikes !! Where would all the best stories germinate from? It's rare to begin a tall tale with, "We were sober and..."

Big binge drinker here but I realized the RCN wasn't screwing around with excess drinking anymore and it could affect my career. The majority of people are fine even when drunk, its the people who become jerks, violent or in this Officers case grabby. These people should refrain and their bosses, peers should take action either by getting them help or some other action.
 

Retired AF Guy

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Navy_Pete said:
Probably because the Navy doesn't really make a distinction or upsells TGEx activities. When we were in the Med a few years ago running around with SNMG2 doing all the things, the big story on the front page of the Lookout was practicing them in Cutlass Fury. Unless there is a specific bust or something, the Navy does a really shite job at communicating anything other than a ship is gone for a while. Was especially annoying as we were actually doing some interesting stuff. Got more coverage in the Russian press then our own. OPsec weeks after the fact is a bit lame when our movements were live streamed or otherwise reported ahead of time by local agencies. If people in Syria, Turkey etc knew where we were, bit silly to worry about Canadians knowing.

Especially when websites like Marine Traffic can accurately track ships traffic anywhere in the world.

 

dapaterson

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More charges laid, against two senior individuals:

On September 12, 2019, the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service charged Lieutenant-Colonel Daniel Mainguy, a Reserve Force member with Canadian Force Recruiting Group and based in Borden, ON, with sexual assault pursuant to the Criminal Code and with related offences under the National Defence Act.

https://www.canada.ca/en/department-national-defence/news/2019/09/sexual-assault-charge-laid-against-military-officer-in-borden-on.html


On September 12, 2019, the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service charge Master-Warrant Officer John Macpherson a Regular Force member with Canadian Army Doctrine and Training Centre (CADTC) currently based in Kingston, ON with sexual assault contrary to National Defence Act, pursuant to the Criminal Code of Canada.

https://www.canada.ca/en/department-national-defence/news/2019/09/sexual-assault-charge-laid-against-military-member-in-kingston-on.html
 

Navy_Pete

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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.
 

mariomike

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Navy_Pete said:
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.

•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
 

Navy_Pete

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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.
 

Blackadder1916

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Navy_Pete said:
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. 
 

garb811

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Navy_Pete said:
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?
 

Eaglelord17

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Navy_Pete said:
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.
 

Brad Sallows

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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.
 

garb811

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Brad Sallows said:
....

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.
 

Brad Sallows

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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).
 

garb811

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Brad Sallows said:
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.
 

Brad Sallows

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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.
 

ballz

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garb811 said:
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.
 

RCDtpr

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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
 

dapaterson

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garb811 said:
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...

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
 

QV

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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.
 
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