OTTAWA — The Canadian Armed Forces’ top prosecutor says he expects more than two dozen criminal cases in which sexual misconduct charges have already been laid will remain with the military’s justice system.
Col. Dylan Kerr says that expectation is based on consultations with victims after retired Supreme Court justice Louise Arbour called for military police to hand over such cases to civilian authorities.
Arbour, whose recommendation was accepted by Defence Minister Anita Anand last month, made an exception for investigations close to completion.
In an exclusive interview with The Canadian Press, Kerr says military police are now working on the transfer of sexual misconduct investigations to civilian counterparts and that he does not anticipate any new cases of the sort to land on his desk.
But Kerr says there are 29 cases in which such charges have already been laid, and the victims in all of those cases have so far agreed to press ahead through the military justice system.
Kerr says he is not surprised the victims opted to stick with the military system as they already had several opportunities even before Arbour’s recommendation to have their cases handled in civilian court.
He also says there are risks when it comes to moving cases from one system to the other after charges have already been laid, including the potential for delays as courts in provinces like Ontario struggle with backlogs.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 20, 2021.
The Canadian Press