Ex-sol­dier faces court mar­tial for taunt­ing ju­nior of­fi­cer

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - CANADA -

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.

CP PHOTO

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.

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