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

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

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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.

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

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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.

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