City of London reviewing landmarks named for war hero after old assault conviction surfaces

·2 min read
Trooper Mark Wilson, from London, Ont., was killed in Afghanistan in 2006. He was 39. The City of London named landmarks after him, but the mayor says there will be a review in light of Wilson's legal issues in 2004. (Submitted by Trooper Mark Wilson's family - image credit)
Trooper Mark Wilson, from London, Ont., was killed in Afghanistan in 2006. He was 39. The City of London named landmarks after him, but the mayor says there will be a review in light of Wilson's legal issues in 2004. (Submitted by Trooper Mark Wilson's family - image credit)

Mayor Ed Holder has asked city staff to begin a review of London, Ont., landmarks named after Trooper Mark Wilson, who was killed in Afghanistan, in the wake of a newspaper report about the late war hero's previously undisclosed assault on a female military recruit.

The report Wednesday in the London Free Press details the 2004 court-martial proceeding against Wilson, who was killed in 2006 at age 39 when a roadside bomb destroyed the vehicle he was in near Kandahar.

He pleaded guilty to assaulting a woman and drunkenness, the report states, but not guilty to a sexual assault charge.

Trooper Mark Wilson Park, in London's northwest, and Trooper Wilson Place, a small street that runs off Hale Street near Trafalgar Street, were named in honour of the soldier and father of two.

According to the newspaper report, Wilson was fined $1,500 and given a reprimand. The woman's name is protected under a publication ban.

"As a city committed to creating a safe London for women and girls, we take this very seriously," Holder told CBC News in a statement.

"We recognize how difficult this must be for the woman who has come forward and we stand with all survivors. In light of what we've learned today, I've asked staff to review all instances where his name has been used in our city, and based on their review, I intend to bring a motion forward to the next council meeting."

Lawyer for Wilson family slams review

Phillip Millar, a lawyer Wilson's family has hired to protect his legacy, called the move to review the landmarks "cancel culture gone wild again."

"Imagine that your son was killed serving the country honourably ... and then 14 or 16 years later, somebody comes up and says, 'Your son did something wrong,' and he can't really answer to what happened. The trauma [for the Wilson family] of the loss of a child and then having the whole reputation ruined is really devastating to them, and I think actually unfair in some ways."

A lot of money has been raised in Wilson's name, through various charity events in the city, Millar said.

"Now you're going to cancel a legacy of somebody who died serving the country, hundreds of thousands of dollars for charity because people are just scared to be on the wrong side of political correctness."

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