Information for victims
Although the military justice system is very similar to the civilian justice system in many respects, for those who are unfamiliar with it, it can be overwhelming and confusing. This is especially so for victims. In order to ensure that victims understand the system and remain a valuable part of the process, the Canadian Military Prosecution Service (CMPS) strives to keep victims, particularly of sexual misconduct, informed at all stages of the process and ensure that they understand what is happening with their case. This includes all prosecutorial decisions and court proceedings that affect resolution, court dates and matters that potentially affect their security such as changes to release conditions.
The information to be provided by the CMPS includes, but is not limited to:
- The decision of the prosecutor on whether to prefer a charge against the accused;
- Any release conditions placed on the accused prior to trial or any amendments thereto;
- Information regarding the court martial process;
- Publication bans or other available methods to protect victims’ identities;
- Information regarding testifying at court martial;
- Any decision by the prosecutor to enter into plea negotiations with defence counsel;
- Any decision by the prosecutor to withdraw charges against the accused; and
- The ability of the victim to provide a victim impact statement at court martial.
In order to maintain public confidence in the administration of military justice, prosecutors must be strong and effective advocates for the prosecution as well as ministers of justice. This means that they have a duty to ensure that the military justice system operates fairly to all including the accused, victims, witnesses, and the broader CAF. It is important to note that the role of the CMPS and individual prosecutors is to prosecute matters fairly and independently, not to act as counsel for victims of sexual misconduct. If you are a victim of sexual misconduct and are seeking legal advice on a specific matter related to the case, the CMPS will not provide legal advice and will instead recommend that you speak with a lawyer to address your concern. Examples of questions which require the advice of a lawyer and so do not fall within the scope of this initiative include:
- whether or not a victim should consent to the release of personal information;
- advocating for the rights of a victim in those cases where an accused makes an application to seek production of a record that contains personal information for which there is a reasonable expectation of privacy on the part of the victim; or
- what options a victim may have to commence a civil suit against the accused.
Please note that, depending on its content, your communication may be subject to disclosure to the defence/accused. In addition, some or all of your communication may be subject to disclosure upon request by any individual who has the right to request any record under the control of a government institution in accordance with section 4(1) of the Access to Information Act.
Should any individual report the commission of a service offence, please note that pursuant to article 4.02 of the Queen’s Regulations and Orders, prosecutors with the CMPS may be obligated to report that information to the proper service authorities.
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