Vance has been at the center of a military account on allegations of sexual misconduct made against several senior Canadian Forces officials since Global News first reported on the allegations against him on February 2, 2021.
Vance denied any inappropriate behavior.
READ MORE: Former high-ranking soldier General Jonathan Vance accused of inappropriate behavior with subordinates: sources
The military announced an investigation just days after that initial report and have now charged Vance with obstructing justice, according to documents filed in court Thursday afternoon.
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Court documents show that the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service laid the charge and then handed it over to civilian court.
Vance is due in court on September 17, 2021.
According to court documents, military police allege that between February 1 and 3, Vance “deliberately attempted to obstruct the course of justice in a legal process by repeatedly contacting Ms. KB by telephone and attempting to contact her. persuade to make false statements. about their past relationship with the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service, contrary to subsection 139 (1) of the Criminal Code.
West Block: February 21
In an interview with West BlockMercedes Stephenson On February 21, Major Kellie Brennan identified herself as one of the women behind the allegations against Vance. She said in the interview that Vance called her “several times” after the initial report into the allegations.
“What did he tell you, Kellie?” Stephenson asked.
“Told me to lie,” Brennan said.
“What did he tell you to lie about?” asked Stephenson.
“Have sex. He first started telling me not to say anything about anything, ”Brennan said.
“He gave me barriers when I could say anything: that yes, I could say we had a relationship in Gagetown; no, I can’t say we had a relationship after that; that we were just friends.
Vance told Global News that he didn’t press her to say anything or ask her to say things that weren’t true.
Brennan gave similar testimony during an appearance before the House of Commons Status of Women Committee in April as part of its study on military sexual misconduct.
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She recounted comments which she said took place when she asked military police investigating her allegations if she had the authority to do so when the person facing the allegations was the former Chief of Staff defense – the “CDS” as the role is colloquially known.
“I asked bluntly to the [Canadian Forces National Investigation Service] if they had the mandate to investigate and they had the power to lay charges, they would not answer me, ”she said.
“The answer was no because as the CDS told me, he was untouchable. He owned the CFNIS.
IN HER WORDS: One of the women behind Vance’s allegations tells her story
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was asked about the charge at a press conference Thursday afternoon, but said he would not respond given the case is in court.
The Department of National Defense issued a press release regarding the charge and the decision to return it to the civilian justice system.
“On February 4, 2021, the CFNIS assumed responsibility for investigating allegations of misconduct. It was during this investigation that the obstruction of justice would have occurred, ”the department said in the statement.
“In view of the specifics of the case and in the interests of justice, with due regard to the limitations of the military justice system identified in the findings contained in the report of the Third Independent Review Authority, the CFNIS has decided to prosecute the relevant criminal charge in civil justice. system. “
“As this case is currently going through the civil justice system, no further details can be disclosed at this time,” the department added.
The report cited by the department refers to findings made by former Supreme Court Justice Morris Fish in his June report on the military justice system. In it, Fish warned that sexual misconduct remained as “endemic” and “destructive” in 2021 as it was in 2015 when former Supreme Court Justice Marie Deschamps released her landmark report documenting the “endemic” extent of the problem.
READ MORE: Sexual misconduct in the Canadian military remains as ‘rampant’ in 2021 as it was in 2015, report says
Fish cited the Global News report as one of three distinct periods in the past three decades where investigative journalism has brought the topic into the limelight.
In doing so, he said there had been “further pressure on the CAF and on the government to urgently respond to the problem of sexual misconduct in the CAF.”
“They have rekindled the question of whether the CAF itself, and its military justice system in particular, is capable of appropriately dealing with such conduct,” Fish said in her report.
Fish said that until C-77 – a federal law creating a victims bill of rights for the military justice system – comes into effect, it should be the civilian authorities who investigate and prosecute the alleged sexual assaults and that the military police should be trained on the legislation as soon as possible. possible to avoid harming victims in sexual misconduct investigations.
In April, the federal government also appointed former Supreme Court of Canada Justice Louise Arbor to lead an independent external review on how best to create an independent sexual misconduct reporting system in the military.
Currently, allegations of sexual misconduct are submitted through the military chain of command – a key obstacle identified by Deschamps in his 2015 report.
Report: Sexual Misconduct in the CAF Remains “Endemic”