The Judge Advocate General (JAG) has now published its 2014-2015 annual report, on-time. [See: JAG 2014-2015 Report] Readers will remember that it was revealed during a Parliamentary Committee of the House of Commands in June 2014 that at the time the JAG had failed to publish the 2011-2012, 2012-2013 and 2013-2014 annual reports. The publication of this report is the one and ONLY way Parliament and general public are being kept informed of the goings-on in the military justice system. In terms of accountability and transparency this is the barest of minimum.
During 2014-2015 there were 827 summary trials; more than 50% of these took place in Canadian Army units. The Royal Canadian Navy held 15% and the Royal Canadian Air Force 9% of these summary trials. Of note two-thirds of the charged laid under the National Defence Act are made under section 90 – Absence without leave and section 129 – Conduct to the Prejudice of Good Order and Discipline. Ten percent of the accused at summary trials were officers and six percent were senior NCOs and Warrant Officers.
- There were a conviction rate of ninety (90) percent on the 1092 charges heard by a summary trial.
- All of which exacted by a much antiquated and one-sided unfair if not unjust judicial procedure which denies an accused: a) a right to counsel; b) a right to established rules of evidence; c) right to have a transcript made of the trial proceedings; d) a right to appeal. Added to this is the fact that the person presiding at a summary trial cannot, in any way, claim or be perceived to be independent and neutral vis-à vis the accused.
During the 2014-2015 there were 70 court martials. The accused at these court martials was private to corporal (50); sergeant to chief warrant officer (11) and an officer (10). Again the predominant charge heard by a court martial was section 129 – Conduct to the good order and discipline; section 90 – Absence without leave; and, section 125 – Making a false entry on a document.
- There were a conviction rate of fifty-five (55) percent of the 217 charges heard by a court martial.