Home » Military Withdraws Final Conduct Charge Against Lt.-Gen. Steven Whelan
Canada Featured Global News News Politics

Military Withdraws Final Conduct Charge Against Lt.-Gen. Steven Whelan

Lt.-Gen. Steven Whelan wiped away tears Monday morning when military prosecutors withdrew the final charge against him as his defence lawyer was preparing to cross-examine the complainant in the case.

Whelan had pleaded not guilty to one count of conduct to the prejudice of good order and discipline for changing a performance report in 2011.

The military alleged he gave the complainant in the case, a woman who was under his command at the time, a better score to prevent her from telling senior commanders about flirtatious emails Whelan had sent her before they worked together.

“My client has gone through this for two years, at huge cost to the taxpayers and him personally, from what I believe was a false allegation motivated by financial interest,” said defence lawyer Phillip Millar.

“It’s disappointing not to have the ability to get the truth out and to answer to the claims that have haunted this man since the Oct. 15 (2021) leak that put him in a category of people that he had no business being placed in.”

Whelan was removed from his post as head of military personnel when media reported that he was under investigation by military police in October 2021. He has been on paid leave since then, and has been listed among the top generals who were sanctioned after being accused of sexual misconduct.

Whelan was charged in January 2022 with two counts of conduct to the prejudice of good order and discipline. Prosecutors dropped the first charge, related to what the military called an inappropriate relationship with a subordinate, at the beginning of the court martial last week.

As proceedings resumed on Monday morning, prosecutors asked the military judge, Cmdr. Martin Pelletier, to withdraw the remaining charge, based on “an assessment of the evidence.”

Pelletier had ruled on Friday that the emails at the centre of the case could not be admitted as evidence for the prosecution. His ruling noted that if the defence were to attack the credibility of the complainant during cross-examination, the emails could be used to “rehabilitate her” during re-examination.

In his decision, Pelletier said it was established in court that “the emails are highly embarrassing personally and professionally” to Whelan. Their contents are under a publication ban.

Millar said his client plans to launch a civil suit against the federal government and “anyone who participated in the destruction of his career without doing their duty to investigate.”

Prosecutors declined an interview request.

Source : CBC