Four Canadian soldiers violated standards for weapons handling before and after they were deployed to Afghanistan in 2007, a military investigation has concluded.
“Remedial action” has been taken against three of the soldiers, all of them members of 36 Canadian Brigade Group, the main army reserve unit based in Halifax, the Canadian Forces said in a statement Wednesday.
Capt. Collette Brake, a spokeswoman for the unit, said the soldiers received a warning, probation or counselling, but she couldn't elaborate.
“These are not charges against the members but administrative in nature,” she said in an email.
“In order to respect the privacy of the members, we are not permitted to provide specific details.”
Allegations of inappropriate use of weapons arose in 2009 during the first of two military trials involving Matthew Wilcox, then a corporal with the unit, based in Sydney, N.S.
At the initial court martial, testimony, photos and videos submitted as evidence suggested there were several instances of inappropriate use of weapons by members of the unit.
That prompted the military to start an investigation. Col. Tom Stinson, a former unit commander, was asked to lead the investigation in October 2009.
Last month, a military judge in Halifax sentenced Wilcox to four years in prison for fatally shooting fellow soldier Cpl. Kevin Megeney in Afghanistan in 2007.
At the time, the military judge hearing the case said senior officers didn't do enough to crack down on the improper handling of firearms before and during the deployment of Wilcox's unit.
The unit's commander, Col. James Camsell, said safe weapons handling practices are of “paramount importance” within the unit.
“The decision to pursue administrative measures against the individuals involved is not one that was taken lightly,” he said in the statement.
However, he said the soldiers' inappropriate conduct represented an isolated incident that was not indicative of their usual behaviour.
Mr. Wilcox was ejected from the military after he was found guilty of criminal negligence causing death and negligent performance of a military duty following the first trial in 2009. That verdict was set aside last year and a new trial ordered after Mr. Wilcox's lawyers argued the makeup of the military jury was unfair.
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