Re­port on im­proper use of weapons de­layed

Cape Breton Post - - FRONT PAGE - BY CHRIS SHAN­NON CAPE BRE­TON POST cshan­non@cb­

SYD­NEY — A re­port on the im­proper use of weapons by Cana­dian Forces re­servists has been de­layed by sev­eral months due to the length of tran­scripts from a court mar­tial held in Syd­ney last year.

Ev­i­dence pre­sented at the Matthew Wil­cox court mar­tial prompted an in­ves­ti­ga­tion fol­low­ing Wil­cox’s con­vic­tion and sen­tence to four years in prison for crim­i­nal neg­li­gence caus­ing the death of fel­low sol­dier Kevin Me­geney of Stel­lar­ton, N.S., in Afghanistan in March 2007.

Wil­cox, 24, of Glace Bay, was re­leased on con­di­tions in De­cem­ber pend­ing ap­peal.

Dur­ing the 23-day long trial, de­fence lawyers en­tered two video clips into ev­i­dence which showed sol­diers point­ing pis­tols at one an­other and re­peat­edly pulling the trig­ger dur­ing train­ing ex­er­cises in the lead up to de­ploy­ment to Afghanistan. Pho­tos en­tered as ex­hibits also showed some re­servists mis­han­dling weapons prior to and dur­ing their Afghanistan de­ploy­ment.

Cana­dian Forces spokesper­son Capt. Co­lette Brake, who speaks on be­half of re­serve unit 36 Bri­gade Group, in charge of re­servists from Nova Sco­tia and Prince Ed­ward Is­land, said Wed­nes­day an in­terim re­port was ex­pected by early Jan­uary, how­ever in­ves­ti­gat­ing of­fi­cers only re­ceived court tran­scripts two weeks ago.

“In or­der to go through (the tran­scripts) prop­erly, we now don’t an­tic­i­pate hav­ing an in­terim re­port un­til the end of March,” Brake said.

She said the 36 Bri­gade Group com­man­der Col. Tom Stin­son will re­view the in­terim re­port, and come back with a fi­nal re­port with find­ings that will be made pub­lic.

“Part of the re­port may lead to other things but the in­ves­ti­ga­tion was based on the ev­i­dence that came out as part of the trial.

“ The in­ves­ti­ga­tion is go­ing to be thor­ough, which is why it’s prob­a­bly tak­ing them a lit­tle bit more time be­cause of the vol­ume of in­for­ma­tion they need to go through.”

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