Sailor posted to top-secret base despite facing charges

A military judge is questioning why a navy non-commissioned officer who was facing a court martial for charges involving dishonesty was transferred to a top-secret intelligence unit in Halifax, violating the military’s own security rules.

In 2011, Petty Officer 1st Class D.W. Morton convinced a colleague to take a mandatory fitness test in his name. Members in the Canadian Forces need to maintain no less than a pass in order to be eligible for promotion.

“Your motive for these offences was for personal gain,” court documents from the case said.

Despite the charges and the military’s own regulations, which forbid navy officers from being transferred while facing a court martial, Morton was posted in December 2012 to HMCS Trinity, an intelligence facility base that depends on officers being trustworthy.

Trinity tracks vessels entering and exiting Canadian waters via satellites, drones and underwater devices

Morton eventually pleaded guilty to serious military charges including forgery and conspiracy. He was fined $3,000 and given a severe reprimand for his deception.

In his ruling, military judge Lt.-Col. J.G. Perron commented on Morton's transfer to Trinity, saying: “It would appear that Petty Officer Morton was posted to a key intelligence gathering unit awaiting his trial. It does appear that his chain of command thought he was trustworthy enough to occupy the position in a very sensitive and key intelligence gathering unit."

HMCS Trinity is the base where former sub-lieutenant Jeffery Delisle was stationed while he sold secrets to Russia. Morton worked at the naval dockyard facility at the same time as Delisle

“Trinity is by its very nature a very sensitive posting because of the type of work this unit performs for the Canadian Forces and the Canadian government. Anyone who has watched the news in the past few months would know the nature of that unit," read the documents.

.The navy won’t say whether Morton is still posted at Trinity.

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