The Canadian Press reports that a former Canadian Forces warrant officer has been acquitted on charges arising from a mess dinner. Excerpt:
Wade Pear, a veteran of multiple ground tours in Afghanistan, Bosnia and Cyprus, was tried before the military tribunal, even though he's been a civilian for two-and-a-half years.
It is a controversial case that has raised the question of whether ex-members of the Canadian Armed Forces should face military justice — and the possible of prison time — for minor infractions after they have retired.
The court martial, at Garrison Petawawa, Ont., saw testimony from 12 witnesses over several days and stems from an incident in November 2012 where Pear — attending a mess dinner — was accused of drunkenness, insubordination and making disparaging remarks.
He says he's relieved by the verdict, but contends his reputation was left in tatters by the allegations, which he says were false.
Military prosecutors tried on two separate occasions to get him to accept deals in exchange for guilty pleas.
"I'm glad I didn't do it," he said in an interview with The Canadian Press. "I couldn't do that because I knew I wasn't guilty. To me that's a cop out. Right?"Mr. Pear was represented at trial by uniformed counsel, but had previously incurred legal bills of $8,000. Perhaps there is some way the government can defray those. Global Miitary Justice Reform contributor Michel Drapeau called the case a waste of time for the military justice system. "It was inappropriate that a civilian — that's what Mr. Pear is — was tried before a military tribunal."