Prosecutors try to get top military judge's trial back on track

OTTAWA — Prosecutors are going to court to try to force Canada's No. 2 military judge to name another military judge to preside over the trial of the No. 1 military judge.

A month ago, Lt.-Col. Louis-Vincent d'Auteuil removed himself from the case of his boss, Col. Mario Dutil, in the middle of a court martial, and refused to appoint a replacement.

Dutil was facing four charges in relation to allegations he had an inappropriate relationship with a subordinate and signed a false travel claim.

His lawyer asked d'Auteuil to recuse himself and served him with a subpoena as a witness, because the two men worked together and had a personal relationship and d'Auteuil knew important facts about the case as a result.

After considering the matter, d'Auteuil agreed and said that for similar reasons, none of the other three military judges could handle the case, either, leaving it in limbo.

Maj. Doug Keirstead, a spokesman for the Canadian Forces, said Thursday that the government is asking the Federal Court to overturn that decision.

The application says d'Auteuil was wrong to conclude that none of the other judges could take the case over, and in any event the legal doctrine of necessity demands that d'Auteuil pick the best one available no matter what.

© 2019 The Canadian Press