Army bans uniforms from civilian trials after Fortin’s criticism

by

In this article, you will get all the information regarding Army bans uniforms from civilian trials after Fortin’s criticism

dated: 2022-11-20 04:16:05 .

OTTAWA – The Canadian Armed Forces is cracking down on the wearing of uniforms and decorations in civilian courts, saying such clothing is prohibited in non-military court proceedings except in certain circumstances.

Deputy Chief of the Defense Staff, Lieutenant General. Frances Allen traces the furor to Major General. Dany Fortin’s decision to wear his uniform and medals during his sexual assault trial in civil court.

Defense ministry spokesman Daniel Le Bouthillier did not specifically quote Fortin, who has pleaded not guilty and is currently awaiting a judge’s verdict, when asked about Allen’s reasons for ordering the end of such displays.

However, he acknowledged in a statement that the military decided to review its existing policy “due to concerns brought to us in September by those who have experienced trauma, as well as questions from the media.”

Fortin, who previously headed the federal government’s COVID-19 vaccination campaign, first appeared in uniform in civil court in September and again in October.

Allen’s order, which takes effect Dec. 1, bans members of the armed forces from wearing uniforms during civil court proceedings unless they are testifying on behalf of the military or the Crown in a military capacity. This includes military lawyers and police officers.

The order, which follows promises last year to move criminal sexual misconduct cases from military to civilian courts, also bans the wearing of medals in all civilian courts.

Military members can request a waiver by submitting a formal request to their chain of command, which will be decided based on several factors, including the nature of the process and the military member’s role.

Reached by email Thursday, Fortin said he would not comment until a judge rules in his sexual assault case.

Lori Buchart, who previously co-chaired It’s Not Just 20K, a support and advocacy group founded by victims of military sexual abuse, applauded Allen’s order.

Buchart previously expressed concern that wearing uniforms and insignia in civilian courts could prejudice trials, particularly when a jury is involved, and could intimidate victims of military sexual abuse.

“The decision to ban uniforms except in cases of duty is absolutely the right decision,” Buchart said Thursday.

“We are very pleased that there is clarity on this issue from a political point of view. … We are grateful that CAF took the concerns of those affected seriously and understood the harm and re-traumatization that can occur in situations like this.”

Charlotte Duval-Lantoine, an expert on military misconduct at the Canadian Institute of Global Affairs, suggested the new order could create a “level playing field” for the trials.

“As we’ve seen in many cases, some may see military service as a reflection of a person’s character and as a deterrent to prosecution,” she said.

“Attorneys can still represent a case without a strong image that can unwittingly influence the jury and the judge and unnecessarily harm the prosecutor.”

However, Duval-Lantoine also expressed concern about the possibility of seeking an exception and how such decisions are made.

Retired Lt. Col. Rory Fowler, who is now a lawyer specializing in military cases, questioned whether Allen really had the power to dictate when and where members of the armed forces could wear their medals.

“If (Allen) proposes to ban the wearing of medals in civilian dress, then she may be overstepping the bounds of her authority,” Fowler said in an email.

“When worn with the Canadian Forces dress, the medals are part of that CF dress. The Chief of Defense Staff can issue instructions on how decorations can be worn with uniforms. But the medals don’t have to be worn with the CF dress.”

Fowler also noted that while Allen’s order was sent to the troops through what is known as the Canadian Forces General Message, or Canforgen, the actual military dress code and other legal guidelines remain unchanged.

“CF continues to use Canforgen as a political tool,” he said. “They are not intended as political instruments. As I mentioned earlier, Canforgens is a messaging system. … Why haven’t (the rules) been changed?”

This Canadian Press report was first published on November 17, 2022.

Lee Berthiaume, The Canadian Press

Note to readers: This is a corrected story. An earlier version said Rodney Sellar was the attorney representing the major general. Danny Fortin.

Source

Army bans uniforms from civilian trials after Fortin’s criticism

For more visit IlmHunt.com

Latest News by IlmHunt.com

Source https://canadatoday.news/ca/military-bans-uniforms-from-civil-trials-after-fortins-criticism-2-155012/

Spread the love

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *