It is sad to note that the people we are supposed to trust are turning to fraud, placing more pressure to private individuals and business owners alike to have adequate fraud prevention policies in place. The same pressure was certainly felt by Canada’s military justice system when it had to charge the Force’s highest ranking judge for inappropriate behaviour and fraud recently.
When Judges Misbehave
Col. Mario Dutil was charged with fraud, wilfully creating a false entry in government document, and another charge for going against conduct to the prejudice of good order and discipline.
A military spokesman shared that Dutil was allegedly engaged in a personal relationship with a subordinate – which, while consensual, was inappropriate. He also signed a travel claim although he knew it contains false information.
Although these charges are still just allegations because they haven’t been proven in court so far, officials at the Department of National Defense will still have to face the consequences that a high profile case like this can bring. There will be a lot of questions and uncertainty regarding how this will proceed as well as other potential impacts.
Dutil was first placed under investigation by military police in November of 2015 after they received complaints that he’s having an inappropriate relationship with a subordinate as shared by Maj. Jean-Marc Mercier, a spokesman. The consensual relationship lasted from November 2014 until October 2015 and is not permitted in the military.
During the course of the investigation for the said inappropriate relationship, the military police found out that Dutil may have also wilfully signed a travel claim that contains some false information in September of 2015.
This case is unprecedented because not only is Dutil a top ranking military official, he is also serving as chief military judge at present time.
Judge Advocate General Commodore Genevieve Bernatchez issued a statement acknowledging the unique challenges that the charges against Dutil present to the Canadian military justice system. She also said that while this is indeed a very unique situation, this will remind everyone that nobody is above the law and that the present processes in place are capable of handling circumstances like this according to the law.
It is not yet clear who will preside over these charges against Dutil and how they will be handled. If convicted for fraud, he will serve a maximum of 2 years in prison plus 3 years more if proven that he committed a false entry in an official document. He might also be discharged for the alleged inappropriate personal relationship with a subordinate.
Thinking that your anti-fraud policies could use an update now that even people who are supposed to uphold what is right is turning into fraud? That is a smart move and we certainly can help! Contact us to avail of our consulting services on how you can better protect yourself from fraud. After all, prevention is still a lot less messy than trying to fix future mishaps!