New Sexual Misconduct Action Response Team and amendments to prosecution policies
The Director of Military Prosecutions (DMP) has amended the DMP Policy Directives to create the Sexual Misconduct Action Response Team (SMART) as part of the Canadian Armed Forces’ (CAF) continued commitment to eradicate harmful and inappropriate sexual behaviour from its ranks.
This SMART prosecution team will develop specialized expertise and best practices to deal expeditiously and efficiently with the most complex cases of sexual misconduct within the military justice system. The SMART team is the result of ongoing review of Canadian Military Prosecution Service (CMPS) policies in order to effectively address the unique challenges posed by the prosecution of sexual misconduct offences and to better support the needs of victims for whom justice is often a difficult first step in a long healing process.
“In contrast to the civilian criminal justice system, the military justice system has more options to prosecute all aspects of sexual misconduct ranging from sexual assault, to disgraceful conduct, to abuse of subordinates and to harassment,” says Colonel Bruce MacGregor, Director of Military Prosecutions. “As commanding officer of the Canadian Military Prosecution Service, it is my duty to ensure that our prosecutors are armed with the necessary training and experience to hold abusers accountable and treat victims with respect and dignity in an open and Charter compliant justice system.”
The SMART team will be led by Lieutenant-Colonel Maureen Pecknold, Deputy Director of Military Prosecutions with a distinguished twenty-year career as an Assistant Crown Attorney with the Ministry of the Attorney General of Ontario. LCol Pecknold’s extensive experience in prosecuting civilian violent and sexual misconduct cases and demonstrated leadership in mentoring less experienced prosecutors will contribute significantly to the success of the SMART initiative.
In November 2017, LCol Pecknold received the prestigious Commitment to Justice Award from the Federal-Provincial-Territorial Heads of Prosecutions Committee honouring her professional excellence, exemplary service, and outstanding achievements in both her civilian and military prosecution capacities.
“LCol Pecknold helps us achieve these goals by combining her extensive civilian criminal justice experience, her mentorship and her reserve military training by placing her in a direct oversight position to ensure sexual misconduct cases are prosecuted fairly efficiently and effectively,” says Col MacGregor.
Since the release of Madame Deschamps’ report on sexual misconduct in the Canadian Armed Forces and the launch of Operation HONOUR, the Director of Military Prosecutions has undertaken numerous initiatives to better equip the CMPS to perform their duties. Prior undertakings include policy changes to improve interactions between military prosecutors and victims; increased victim engagement, comfort and safety of complainants throughout the court martial process; and augmented prosecutor training with respect to sexual misconduct cases.
To access a complete list of the revised Director of Military Prosecutions Policies and Directives please use the following link: http://www.forces.gc.ca/en/about-policies-standards-legal/index.page
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