Confessed spy Sub-Lieutenant Jeffrey Delisle, who’s admitted to passing secrets to the Russians, will keep his rank and pay – at least until a judge delivers a guilty verdict.
SLt. Delisle, who most recently served as a naval intelligence officer, pleaded guilty October 10 to passing military secrets to the Russian government over period of nearly five years between 2007 and 2012.
He is being held at the Central Nova Scotia Correctional Facility in Halifax. He has been there since he was arrested in January and will not be sentenced until in early 2013. There is a two-day sentencing hearing scheduled for January.
The military is refusing to say much except that SLt. Delisle is still among their ranks.
“I can confirm that he is still currently a serving member of the Forces,” Department of National Defence spokesman Christian Tessier said.
The Globe and Mail has learned however that he’s still being paid.
The pay rate for a sub-lieutenant who received his commission in 2008 from the enlisted rank of sergeant would be about $5,700 a month, according to information posted on the military’s compensation and benefits website.
SLt. Delisle’s case is extraordinary, though, and the Forces chain of command will be under pressure to make an example of him.
The military is expected to move to dishonourably discharge the sub-lieutenant once the judge in SLt. Delisle’s case officially pronounces him guilty.
The Forces have various options as to how far they could go after that.
The brass could seek to strip him of his rank, claw back all his pay and benefits since he was arrested and even expunge his military record.
In the case of another notorious Canadian Forces member, convicted killer Russell Williams, the military waited until he was found guilty before dumping him.
After Mr. Williams was sentenced for horrific sex-related crimes, the military asked Governor-General David Johnston to strip him of his rank.
Every military officer holds a commission granted by the Governor-General on behalf of the Queen, and it’s within the office’s power to take back such an assignment.
In October 2010 Mr. Williams was sentenced to life in prison with no parole for 25 years after pleading guilty to two counts of first-degree murder for killing Corporal Marie-France Comeau and Jessica Lloyd.
At the time, Chief of the Defence Staff General Walt Natynczyk called the move by the Governor-General to revoke the soldier’s commission “an extraordinary and severe decision that may constitute a first of its kind in Canadian history.”
The military then proceeded to strip Mr. Williams, who held the rank of colonel, of all medals – and claw back all the salary and benefits he’s been paid since his arrest in February 2010. Until then he had been earning $12,000 a month.
The Forces also moved to deny Mr. Williams severance pay and expel him from the Forces for “service misconduct” – the most serious release rationale possible.