On March 11th, the Director of Military Prosecutions announced that he had withdrawn all charges filed against the Chief Military Judge Colonel Mario Dutil.
Dutil had been facing four charges, including wilfully making a false statement in a signed document, fraud, committing an act of a fraudulent nature and conduct to the prejudice of good order and discipline. After careful consideration, the decision to withdraw these charges came from the Federal Court, dismissing the Director of Military Prosecutions’ application for judicial review.
Colonel Dutil was originally charged under the National Defence Act by the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service on January 25th, 2018. The charge was originally with one count each of an act of a fraudulent nature, by willfully making a false entry in a document signed by him required for an official purpose.
In February 2018, Lieutenant-Colonel Mark Poland was assigned as a Special Prosecutor to carry out military prosecution duties relating to the charges. By June 2018, Lieutenant-Colonel Poland advanced additional charges against Colonel Dutil.
On June 10th, 2019, Colonel Dutil appeared before the court-martial. Of the eight charges he was facing, four were withdrawn by the prosecutor.
Later that month, Deputy Chief Military Judge, Lieutenant-Colonel Louis Vincent d’Auteuil, recused himself, refusing to assign an alternate military judge.
The Director of Military Prosecutions applied to the Federal Court for judicial review of the non-assignment decision of the Deputy Chief Military Judge.
On March 3rd, 2020, the Federal Court found that the decision made by the Deputy Chief Military Judge was reasonable and refused the remedies sought by the Director of Military Prosecutions.
Colonel Bruce MacGregor, Director of Military Prosecutions said, “All members of the Canadian Armed Forces, regardless of rank or appointment, are held to the same, highest standard of conduct. In this specific case, alleged wrongdoing was reported and investigated by proper authorities, charges were laid and moved forward in accordance with the law.
“However, after conducting a detailed review of the Federal Court’s decision to dismiss my application for judicial review, and carefully considering all circumstances surrounding this case, I believe that it is no longer in the public interest to proceed with this trial,” he continued.
The final decision will not be appealed, with the Director of Military Prosecutions stating that it would be in the best interest of the public and the administration of military justice to withdraw the charges.