Chapter 2 — Review of the Military Justice System

Introduction

During this reporting period, a number of reviews regarding diverse aspects of the military justice system were conducted. DMP fully collaborated with the different review authorities and has already taken proactive corrective actions regarding some deficiencies noted before official departmental or JAG review had been completed.

2.1 Audit by the Office of the Auditor General

The Office of the Auditor General of Canada has been tasked to conduct an audit on the Administration of Justice in the CAF. Since August 2017, CMPS prosecutors and administrative staff spent considerable resources and time to ensure that auditors sufficiently understood the military prosecution services and that all appropriate documents and information were provided in a timely fashion to the auditors.

Collaboration with the auditors proved extremely useful in immediately addressing process deficiencies and exploring potential efficiencies in file processing. Importantly, the CMPS has now instituted a number of changes to expedite disclosure to defence counsel. For example, before a file is assigned to a prosecutor, the prosecutor’s supervisor will request disclosure from the appropriate investigative agency. In addition, prosecutors have been instructed to send disclosure to defence counsel once they have received and reviewed it and prior to making a decision (whether to prefer a charge). With the benefit of an improved electronic database/case management system coming on-line in the near future, it is expected that the timeliness of courts martial will be improved. Close collaboration with the JAG and her Deputy JAG for Military Justice on a significantly improved information management system will bring benefits to the processing of courts martial and expedite disclosure to accused persons.

2.2 The Implementation of Court Martial Sentences

CMPS assisted in the investigation undertaken by the Directorate of Special Examination and Inquiries pertaining to the administrative procedures for court martial sentence implementation. CMPS helped confirm whether a Court Martial Result message was sent to the offender’s Commanding Officer at the end of each trial and whether information related to the finding and sentence imposed were included in the message as per DMP obligations found at QR&O 112.05(23). A request was made to the DMP to provide court martial results messages for 138 cases that were held between 2010-2017. DMP has fulfilled this request and is now proactively working at updating documents/templates related to court martial messaging to ensure a consistent practice amongst all of its regional offices.

2.3 Court Martial Comprehensive Review

The Court Martial Comprehensive Review was initiated by our previous JAG, Major-General Cathcart, in May of 2016 to conduct a legal and policy analysis of all aspects of the CAF’s court martial system and, where appropriate, to develop and analyse options to enhance the effectiveness, efficiency, and legitimacy of that system. In July 2017, the Court Martial Comprehensive Review Team submitted an internal draft report to the current JAG.

Due to challenges related to methodology and a paucity of metrics and analytics, the report was found to be of limited assistance in assessing the current court martial system. In light of various external reviews of the military justice system, such as the one conducted by the Auditor General discussed above, it was determined by the JAG that no additional revision of the draft internal report was to be undertaken. The draft report thereby only serves as a discussion paper that represents the views of its authors and does not represent the views of the Office of the JAG or the DMP.

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