- Reaction score
He isn't exercising the function of a military judge, he is parading in front of a military judge as a CAF officer accused of some fairly significant offences. The fact that he is a military judge should have zero bearing on the decision being made; making this ruling and wording it as he did makes it very clear the military judges think they are distinct and separate from the rest of us.
Ostrozac said:We’ve made exceptions to that, though, when we court martial civilians. Most commonly veterans, for crimes committed while in service (I remember a certain BGen who just seemed to like being court martialed, his first one while serving, his second as a civilian). But I seem to remember that members of the civil service deployed to Afghanistan were also subject to the Code of Service Discipline, and Court Martial if necessary. Do we need to remove the concept of a chain of command from Military Judges and make them a Junta or Collective of Equals — all technically Defence Civilians vice Commissioned Officers, so they can sit in judgement on each other?
Nonetheless, this isn’t a good development. No one can be seen to be above the law.
The fact of the matter is that we have put military judges into a special category as individuals who function outside of the chain of command for very valid reasons. Specifically so that they are as immune from command influence as anyone can possibly be.
Most of you may not remember the turmoil that followed the institution of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the various interpretations that existed respecting the s 11(d) requirements for an independent and impartial tribunal. There was a lot of trial and error in refining the system (both before and after R v. Genereux in the SCC https://scc-csc.lexum.com/scc-csc/scc-csc/en/item/836/index.do?q=%22court+martial%22) that went into creating the system that we have now.
Quite frankly I'm much more concerned about the fact that our legislation does not adequately provide for an outside judge to come in when a conflict exists rather than if people are wearing the right buttons and bows in front of the court. You can't have it both ways. Either our judges are independent of the chain of command and the Chief Judge has the discretion to decide to what judges wear in certain circumstances or they are bound to obey every little whim of the chain of command such as what buttons and bows to wear. Buttons and bows are small beer in the much bigger scheme of things (and quite personally I think the Chief Judge made the wrong call in deciding to wear a suit rather than a uniform and think he did this for selfish reasons just as I think his call to fight this case in the first instance by challenging the bench is a selfish act which he ought to know would put the very system he's sworn to uphold into disrepute)
As to the idea of having the trial held by a Federal Judge all that I can say is that for all intents and purposes our military bench is already a federal court albeit one which has experience within the military and with military law which the Federal Court bench does not have (in fact much of the Federal Court bench has little or no experience with even ordinary civilian criminal law as those cases are handled primarily by the various levels of the provincial benches) One of the main reasons I personally favour a military bench is it's portability. Military judges can sit anywhere including in forward operational zones if necessary or desirable.
Let's face it folks, this case has turned into a kick in the groin for our justice system and it's undoubtedly giving us a black eye but let's not loose focus. Are military judges different from the rest of us (or you)? - damn right. They're supposed to be so that they can do their job fairly. Does it matter what the accused judge wears in court? - not one wit. Does it matter that this particular judge is taking a system for a ride because someone had forgotten to make legislative provisions for the trial of a judge- bloody hell yes. Let's fix that and quickly.