Canada’s top military judge is facing five additional charges following an independent investigation, the Department of National Defence said Monday as it announced that his case is now proceeding to a formal court martial.
The military justice system was rocked in January after Col. Mario Dutil was charged with one count of fraud under the National Defence Act, one count of wilfully making a false entry in an official document and one count of conduct to the prejudice of good order and discipline.
The new charges include one count of wilfully making a false statement in an official document, one count of fraud under the Criminal Code and three counts of neglect to the prejudice of good order and discipline.
All of the charges relate to allegations that Dutil engaged in a consensual but inappropriate relationship with a subordinate, and that he knowingly signed a travel claim containing false information in September 2015, according to the military.
A charge sheet indicates that the claim was for $927.60.
None of the charges have been proven in court and a date has not been set for the court martial.
Military police first started investigating Dutil in November 2015 after receiving a complaint that he had engaged in an inappropriate relationship with a subordinate.
The alleged relationship is believed to have lasted from November 2014 to October 2015 and while consensual, was not permitted under military regulations.
It was during the course of their investigation into that relationship that military police uncovered evidence to suggest Dutil knowingly signed a travel claim containing false information in September 2015.
It’s believed Dutil is the first person to be charged while serving as the chief military judge, and the case will now proceed through the military justice system in which he serves as a prominent member.
Only the federal cabinet can appoint or remove a chief military judge, and a military official confirmed that Dutil remains in his position but has not been hearing any cases since he was initially charged in January.
Given the unprecedented nature of Dutil’s case, it remains unclear exactly how it will proceed, including whether one of the three other military judges over which he presided will end up hearing the case against him.
However, the decision to bring in Poland as a special prosecutor was made to ensure that there was no perception of bias.
This isn’t the first time that Dutil, who took over his current role in 2006, has been accused of violating the military’s rules on personal relationships.
But a special committee of three judges dismissed a complaint in April 2016 on the basis that it did not have any impact on Dutil’s conduct as a judge. Military police did not lay any charges at that time.
Officials would not say whether the complaints related to the same alleged relationship.
A conviction for committing an act of a fraudulent nature carries a maximum penalty of two years less a day in prison while wilfully making a false entry or statement in an official document carries a penalty of three years less a day.
The maximum penalty for prejudicing good order and discipline is dismissal from the military with disgrace.