An investigation into allegations of misconduct against a top military officer has ended without revealing enough evidence to support charges, military police say.
A statement issued on Friday evening from the Canadian Forces Provost Marshal said the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service (CFNIS) had completed its investigation into allegations of misconduct against Admiral Arthur McDonald. The admiral stepped aside as chief of the defence staff after the allegations were disclosed in February. He had been on the job for only five weeks.
“The investigation did not reveal evidence to support the laying of charges under either the Code of Service Discipline or the Criminal Code of Canada,” the statement from Brigadier-General Simon Trudeau said.
“In this particular case, CFNIS was able to both identify and interview a large number of potential witnesses. The evidence gathered from these witnesses was considered in the ultimate determination that the evidence did not support the laying of any charges.”
In light of privacy rights, the service said it would not have any further comment.
It was not clear on Friday evening whether Adm. McDonald would return to his duties as chief of defence staff.
Lieutenant-General Wayne Eyre was designated as the acting chief of the defence staff after Adm. McDonald took leave in February.
Todd Lane, communications director in the office of the defence minister, said in a statement that the Department of National Defence did not have any comment on Friday’s development involving the admiral.
Canada’s Armed Forces have been in turmoil for months over allegations of misconduct involving senior officers, and the government has faced questions about its handling of the file.
In late February, Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan announced that Adm. McDonald had voluntarily stepped down, and that the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service was conducting an investigation.
There was no announcement on details of the allegations against Adm. McDonald.
A government source told The Globe and Mail earlier this year that background checks on the admiral did not turn up allegations of sexual misconduct. The Globe is not identifying the source because they were not authorized to speak about the matter.
Adm. McDonald succeeded former general Jonathan Vance as commander of the Canadian Armed Forces.
Mr. Vance was charged with obstruction of justice last month under the Criminal Code.
In a statement when the charge was announced, the Department of National Defence said the national investigation service assumed investigative responsibility for the allegations of misconduct against Mr. Vance on Feb. 4, and it was during this investigation that the obstruction of justice allegedly occurred.
Documents filed in court allege Mr. Vance, who faces allegations of sexual misconduct, “did willfully attempt to obstruct the course of justice in a judicial proceeding by repeatedly contacting” an individual by phone and “attempting to persuade her to make false statements about their past relationship” to the national investigation service.
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