Military instructor faces sex assault charges
By Jennifer Pritchett
Local News - Thursday, May 26, 2005 @ 07:00
A military instructor at the Canadian Forces School of Communications and Electronics in Kingston has been charged with breaking into the barracks of two female soldiers and sexually assaulting them.
Master Cpl. John Peter Grant appeared before a military judge yesterday for the opening day of his court martial, held in a third-floor lecture hall at the CFB Kingston training school.
He has been charged with a slew of criminal offences, including three counts of sexual assault and two counts of breaking, entering and committing an indictable offence.
The instructor has also been charged under the National Defence Act with drunkenness.
Grant has been relieved of his teaching duties pending the outcome of his court martial.The allegations date to February of 2004 when the two female complainants were enrolled in a course he was teaching at the training centre.
Yesterday, military judge Commander Peter Lamont banned the publication of any information that would lead to the identification of the two women.
One woman took the stand to give her account of the events, but her testimony was abruptly stopped after she said she’d met informally with two other witnesses in the case and they discussed their police statements.
During cross-examination by military defence attorney, Lt.-Cdr. John McMunagle, the woman testified that when she arrived in Kingston on Monday to attend the court martial, she met with the two other witnesses for about 30 minutes.
She said they read the statements they made to police last year aloud to one another.
Taken aback by the news of the meeting of the witnesses and their discussion of the evidence, McMunagle responded by saying he was flabbergasted that they would call together a meeting to discuss what they planned to say during the proceedings.
He asked the woman whether she had been told by the military police not to discuss her statement with anyone.
The woman responded that she had not.
“We have a major problem in this trial,” said McMunagle.
“I’ve frankly never heard of such a situation transpiring. I don’t know how this prosecution can continue.”
He said he needed an adjournment to discuss the matter in order to find out how to proceed.
“I just don’t know what to do your honour,” he said.
“I need to consult more senior people.”
Moments later, Lamont adjourned the proceedings until 10 a.m. today.
About two dozen courts martial – reserved for serious offences – are held annually for military personnel across the country.
Most are open to the public.