The army is called upon to reinstate Dany Fortin since he has been found not guilty
Major-General Dany Fortin was acquitted of the sexual assault charge against him on Monday. (Archives)
Now that Major-General Dany Fortin has been found not guilty at his sexual assault trial, voices are being raised for him to return to his post in the army, while a debate is surfacing about how the Canadian Armed Forces should deal with its members who are accused of sexual misconduct in the future.
The Armed Forces have indicated that x27; they were still considering the implications of Judge Richard Meredith's decision, handed down on Monday. The Quebec Court judge ruled that the Crown had not proven beyond a reasonable doubt that Mr. Fortin had sexually assaulted a woman in 1988.
In an interview with The Canadian Press on Tuesday, one of Mr. Fortin's lawyers assured that his client was ready, willing and able to return to service, he who had been removed from his position as head of the national campaign. deployment of the COVID-19 vaccine and placed on paid leave, in May 2021.
Dany Fortin says he was relieved of his post in 2021 for “political reasons”.
Mtre Natalia Rodriguez also left the door open to a potential lawsuit, saying her client's career and long-term reputation have been tainted by the allegations against him and by the way they were handled by the liberal government and military rulers.
It was a huge blow to his career, Rodriguez said. If you look at his performance reviews before he was fired, they were glowing and they said he was about to get a promotion. Except that it will now be very difficult to return to this reputation.
Mr. Rodriguez represents Mr. Fortin in Federal Court, where the officer accuses the Liberal government of removing him from the vaccination campaign and other military duties for purely political reasons and without due process .
Mr. Fortin wants the Federal Court to order the military to reinstate him in a position corresponding to his rank. An appeal was due to begin in October after his request was initially denied, but the hearing was adjourned pending the results of his criminal trial.
Mr. Rodriguez argued on Tuesday that the Army's decision to leave his client essentially in limbo for the past 18 months has affected his ability to work and be promoted before reaching the top. Mandatory retirement age of 55 this summer. And despite the not-guilty verdict, she said the charge against him will also affect his post-military career options.
Retired Colonel Michel Drapeau, who is now a military lawyer, argued Monday's acquittal should pave the way for an immediate posting for Mr. Fortin.
Having been found not guilty after a full criminal trial, he should be immediately assigned to a high-level position corresponding to his long experience as a senior leader, Mr. Drapeau said in an email. There is no legal or administrative reason not to.
Retired Colonel Michel Drapeau is now a lawyer specializing in military affairs. (Archives)
Mr. Drapeau, however, conceded that the government could instead offer a settlement in exchange for Mr. Fortin's retirement, as happened when the breach of trust case against Vice-Admiral Mark Norman was dropped in May 2019.
Like Mr. Fortin's fight in Federal Court, Mr. Norman's defense included allegations of x27;Political interference by the Liberal government. And like Mr. Fortin, Mr. Norman had said he wanted to return to military service before agreeing to the settlement, the details of which were not disclosed.
In either case, the question is whether they should return to full duty once the legal proceedings are over. I think they should, argued Me Drapeau. However, this does not preclude the Department of National Defense and/or the Canadian Armed Forces from reaching a settlement with the officer facilitating early retirement.
The Chief of the Defense Staff, General Wayne Eyre, can also recommend the release of any member of the Armed Forces who has served more than 30 years, Mr. Drapeau pointed out.