A Canadian military police officer has been fined and reprimanded for mailing home 14 firearm magazines and a rifle scope from Afghanistan, the latest of several soldiers to be court-martialed for sending home prohibited weapons from the Central Asian combat theatre.
Captain Marc Babineau pleaded guilty to one count of committing an act prejudicial to good order and discipline. The court ordered a stay of proceedings to an accusation of unauthorized importing that he also faced.
“Because of your trade as a military police, the Canadian Forces and the public at large had higher-than-average expectations of you,” the military judge, Lieutenant-Colonel Louis-Vincent D’Auteuil, said in a Sept. 30 ruling.
The maximum penalty Capt. Babineau could have received was a dishonourable discharge but he was given a reprimand and fined $2,000 because he co-operated with the investigation.
The court heard that Capt. Babineau purchased the 14 firearm magazines at a Post Exchange in Afghanistan in November, 2010 because his Canadian Forces-issued equipment wasn’t working properly.
He decided not to use the magazines, however, because of concerns that he could discharge his arm accidentally. Unable to return the magazines to the store, he decided to mail them to his wife at home, the court heard.
As an MP, Capt. Babineau should have known that he was contravening Standing Order 108 of the Canadian military task force in Afghanistan, which prohibits soldiers from acquiring guns, ammunitions and other artifacts or trophies of war, the ruling said.
“These are clearly prohibited items and I think this is something that ought to stick in your mind and that of other military police and other military members,” Lt.-Col. D’Auteuil said.
Capt. Babineau is only identified in the ruling as “M. Babineau” but Major Dale MacEachern, a spokesman for the Canadian Forces Provost Marshal, confirmed the defendant’s identity.
Other soldiers have been court-martialed for similar behaviour in the last two years.
. In April, 2010, Corporal S.M. Faucher of the Royal 22nd Regiment, received a 10-day jail sentence and a $2,000 fine for trying to send home a functioning AK-47 assault rifle, two magazines and two functioning Russian-made pistols.
The guns were discovered by a clerk at Camp Nathan Smith in Kandahar City who thought the parcel wasn’t properly packed and tried to rewrap it.
. In March of this year, Sergeant M.C. Harris was fined $1,000 after he tried to ship an AK-74 rifle, two magazines and an RPG-7 rocket-propelled grenade firing tube to his residence in Welland, Ont.
The weapons had been welded shut to make them inoperable. They were intercepted by Canada Border Services Agency officers who conducted X-ray examinations of incoming mail from Afghanistan.
. In May, Sergeant Randy Olive, a reservist with the 49th Field Artillery Regiment, was fined $1,500 after he mailed two AK-74 assault rifles, one AK-47, and three 30-round magazines to his residence in Sault Ste Marie, Ont.
Sgt. Olive had rendered the rifles inoperable and said he intended to use them to decorate the regimental mess.