Military fines MP Kevin Vuong for failing to report criminal charge

·3 min read
Independent member of Parliament and Royal Canadian Navy reserve officer Kevin Vuong takes questions from reporters after the military fined him $500 for failing to disclose a criminal charge to his commanding officer in 2019. (Chris Rands/CBC - image credit)
Independent member of Parliament and Royal Canadian Navy reserve officer Kevin Vuong takes questions from reporters after the military fined him $500 for failing to disclose a criminal charge to his commanding officer in 2019. (Chris Rands/CBC - image credit)

A Royal Canadian Navy official imposed a $500 fine on Independent MP and Royal Canadian Navy reserve officer Kevin Vuong Wednesday for failing to inform his commanding officer of a criminal charge against him.

Vuong elected to face a summary trial instead of a court martial. The trial took place Wednesday morning at HMCS Donnacona, a navy reserve unit in Montreal. The naval reserve's deputy commander, Capt. Etienne Landry, presided over the trial.

Vuong was facing a service charge under the National Defence Act for "conduct to the prejudice of good order and discipline."

Lt. Robert Moore, a spokesperson for the naval reserve, told CBC News Vuong admitted to all particulars of the charge during the trial. He said Capt. Landry concluded a $500 fine was the most appropriate punishment.

Toronto Police charged Vuong with a single count of sexual assault in April 2019. Military law requires Canadian Armed Forces members to disclose any such charges to their commanding officers — something Vuong failed to do.

The Crown withdrew the charge six months after it was filed.

Landry said during the trial that while he could have imposed a more severe punishment on Vuong, he took into account Vuong's young age, his expression of regret and desire to be rehabilitated, his lack of prior offences and his promotion of the navy in both military and civilian life.

Vuong said during the trial that he regrets not following military procedure and wants to remain in the Canadian Armed Forces

Speaking to reporters after the ruling, Vuong said he would be commenting in more detail at a later time.

"I'm here in uniform out of respect to the (Canadian Armed Forces)," Vuong said.

"I don't believe that this is the right venue and that now is the right time, but I want to encourage all of you to please reach out to my office to find a time and ... let's clear the air."

Vuong's future in Parliament uncertain

Vuong, who holds the rank of sub-lieutenant, is currently the only Independent member of Parliament. The Liberal Party dumped him as a candidate during the 2021 federal election campaign after information about the past sexual assault charge against him emerged. The party said Vuong did not tell them about the charge during the candidate vetting process.

Vuong did not respond to a reporter's question following the trial about whether he'd remain an MP. While Vuong previously said he intends to rejoin the Liberals, he's voted against several government bills and has criticized the Liberals on social media.

The party's disavowal of Vuong came too late in the campaign to remove his name from the ballot as the Liberal candidate. He was elected in the Toronto riding of Spadina—Fort York with 38.9 per cent of the vote.

Vuong has denied any wrongdoing and has called the allegation behind the charge a "fantasy." He's also pointed to the withdrawal of the charge as evidence of his innocence.

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