More charges laid against Canadian military’s top judge — case will proceed to
Col. Mario Dutil, the Chief Military Judge was charged after an investigation
into one of his travel claims and his alleged relationship with a female
June 12, 2018
An independent prosecutor has added more charges against the Canadian Forces top
judge and has recommended the case proceed to a court martial.
In January, in an unprecedented situation, Col. Mario Dutil, the Chief Military
Judge was charged after an investigation into one of his travel claims and his
alleged relationship with a female subordinate.
At the time, Dutil had been charged with one count of an act of a fraudulent
nature under the National Defence Act; one count of wilfully making a false
entry in a document signed by him that was required for an official purpose, and
one count of conduct to the prejudice of good order and discipline.
A special prosecutor was brought in to examine the case and make a
recommendation on how it should proceed.
That prosecutor, Lt.-Col. Mark Poland, has completed a post-charge review of the
charges laid earlier this year against Col. Dutil, and has forwarded eight
charges to the office of the court martial administrator to initiate the court
martial process, the Canadian Forces noted in a statement Monday.
The charges under the National Defence Act now include one count of wilfully
making a false entry in a document signed by him that was required for an
official purpose, one count of wilfully making a false statement in a document
signed by him that was required for an official purpose, one count of fraud
under $5,000 contrary to the Criminal Code of Canada, one count of an act of a
fraudulent nature, one count of conduct to the prejudice of good order and
discipline, and three counts of neglect to the prejudice of good order and
The charges have not been tested in a court. The matter will now continue
through the court martial process.
Special prosecutors may be appointed in certain circumstances where there may be
an actual or perceived conflict of interest in the conduct of military
prosecution duties, according to the Canadian Forces.
Poland is an infantry officer in the reserves. In his civilian career he is the
Crown Attorney of the Waterloo Region with the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney
Poland said in a statement that he conducted a thorough review of the charges
laid against Dutil. “I am confident that there is a reasonable prospect of
conviction, based on all of the evidence and the law, and that pursing this
prosecution is in the public interest,” he added. “As in the civilian justice
system, no one is above the law, and this matter will continue to progress
through the military justice system in accordance with the law.”
Military police spokesman Navy Lt. Blake Patterson said earlier this year the
investigation started in November 2015 when a complaint was received about
Dutil’s relationship with a female subordinate. During the course of that
investigation, evidence came to light about allegations regarding the act of a
fraudulent nature, he added. That issue is linked to one of Dutil’s travel
Dutil is the head judge in the military system and oversees three other judges
who are lieutenant colonels. He is still serving as chief military judge but he
is not hearing cases and has not heard any cases since the original charges were
laid, a Department of National Defence official said Monday.
Dutil can only be removed by a government order-in-council after an examination
of the situation by an independent judicial committee.
In January when the charges were originally laid, Judge Advocate General
Commodore Geneviève Bernatchez said in a statement that the case against Dutil
was unusual and unprecedented. But she said the case will stay within the
military justice system. “I can assure you that the military justice system has
the appropriate mechanisms to deal with this exceptional situation, fairly and
in accordance with the law,” said Bernatchez, whose duty is to oversee the
administration of military justice.