Ex-soldier faces court martial for taunting junior officer
Even though he’s been a civilian for more than two years, former warrant officer Wade Pear faces a court martial for allegedly mouthing a schoolyard taunt to a junior officer at an official dinner.
The veteran of multiple ground tours in Afghanistan, Bosnia and Cyprus faces counts of insubordination and drunkenness — charges that could lead to two years in military prison or hundreds of dollars in fines.
Witnesses are apparently being flown in from different parts of the country to testify at the Ottawa hearing, which stems from an incident in November 2012.
The fact the military justice system is going after Pear, despite his honourable discharge in September 2013, relates to a Supreme Court decision that gives uniformed prosecutors unlimited discretion on when to go ahead with a case.
“I don’t know if I’m bitter, but I just can’t come to terms with why they are proceeding with such minor stuff,’’ Pear said in a recent interview with The Canadian Press.
His military lawyers have argued that the trial of a civilian, more than three years after the incidents and more than two years since his release, should be not be permitted.
Since Pear faces disciplinary action rather than criminal charges, there is no public interest nor anything to be gained in terms of conduct and morale for the military as a whole, they argue.
Pear was a member of No. 2 Service Battalion, based at Camp Petawawa, Ont., but now lives in Ottawa.
Pear denies the charge of drunkenness, saying he had a couple of drinks at the mess dinner that mixed badly with his post-traumatic stress disorder medication. The moment he felt ill, he went outside and then eventually home.
He says a conversation with a naval lieutenant was misconstrued into an accusation that he had called the officer “a pussy’’ for not ordering another drink.
Separately, Pear was also accused of making a rude comment to a female officer at the same mess dinner. The insubordination charge related to that allegation was dropped by the military’s judge advocate general’s branch.
A court martial was scheduled for April 2013, while he was still in uniform, but was postponed. Pear took his retirement a few months later, saying that he ended his 26-year military partly because of the way he was treated in the aftermath of the mess dinner.
Even though he's been a civilian for more than two years, former warrant officer Wade Pear, pictured in Ottawa, on Dec. 14, 2015, faces a court martial for allegedly mouthing a schoolyard taunt to a junior officer at an official dinner.