July 26, 2019 10:01 am
Updated: July 26, 2019 8:23 pm

Supreme Court of Canada rules no right to civilian jury trial for military members

ABOVE: Military thanks Supreme Court for ruling no right to civilian jury trial for members facing serious offences


The Supreme Court of Canada says military members accused of serious offences under military law do not have the constitutional right to a civilian jury trial.

In a 5-2 decision released Friday, the court upheld the established system of military justice after a military court of appeal threw it into question last year.

READ MORE: With Canada’s military justice system in limbo, cases are being dropped or reduced

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Several military members accused of serious criminal and other non-military offences had argued that they had a right to trials by jury, as guaranteed to Canadians under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

They argued an exception to that right built into the Charter applied only to “pure” military offences, not ones that came from civilian law.

WATCH: Colonel defends military justice system following Supreme Court decision, says it adds to morale of community

But the court’s majority opinion found the section of military law that transforms serious civilian offences into military ones is constitutional.

The five members of the majority also said no additional military connection is needed beyond the fact the accused was a military member.

WATCH: Defence argues why jury trials more proficient over military panel following Supreme Court decision

© 2019 The Canadian Press

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