Skip to main content

Canada Supreme Court upholds constitutionality of military justice system

The Supreme Court of Canada has upheld the constitutionality of the military justice system.

The court on Thursday dismissed four appeals which argued sections of the National Defence Act were broader than necessary and therefore violated the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

The appeals related to offences committed by members of the Forces who were subject to the Code of Service Discipline under the defence act.

Story continues below advertisement

The four members, accused of offences punishable under the Criminal Code and the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, raised the issue of whether the provisions infringed on Section 7 of the charter because they create offences not directly related to military discipline.

The section stipulates that everyone "has the right to life, liberty and security of the person and the right not to be deprived thereof except in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice."

The court said Parliament's objective in establishing the military justice system was to provide processes that assure the maintenance of discipline, efficiency and morale in the military.

"The appellants' contention fails because these provisions are not overbroad," the court found. "A law is overbroad when there is no rational connection between the purpose of the law and some of its effects."

In the ruling, the justices said criminal or fraudulent conduct — even when committed in circumstances that are not directly related to military duties —may have an impact on the standards.

"For instance, the fact that a member of the military has committed an assault in a civil context ... may call into question that individual's capacity to show discipline in a military environment and to respect military authorities," the court said.

"The fact that the offence has occurred outside a military context does not make it irrational to conclude that the prosecution of the offence is related to the discipline, efficiency and morale of the military."

Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Discussion loading ...

Cannabis pro newsletter