Arrest warrant issued for former N.S. soldier in odd court martial case
Published Monday, January 12, 2015 7:50PM AST
A former Canadian Forces soldier living in Nova Scotia is the subject of an arrest warrant after failing to appear at a court martial in Manitoba on Monday.
The charges against Brandon Blinn, once a bombardier with a field artillery unit, could be considered odd.
Two of them stem from Blinn not following an order to wear a toque and gloves, while the third was for being “absent without leave” for 10 minutes — he was late for a physical training session last March.
On Monday in Shilo, Man., where Blinn was stationed last spring, the court martial dismissed the first two charges, and downgraded the third to being absent without leave for five minutes.
They also issued a warrant for Blinn’s arrest — he now lives in Hebbville, N.S. and was not present in court.
“As of tomorrow I'm going to phone the RCMP and I'm going to turn myself in,” Blinn said.
“I think the right thing to do would be to go (to Shilo) and to tackle this and that was always my intention, however they did not make arrangements for me to get there,” he said.
Blinn left the Forces and moved back to Nova Scotia in June.
He said he only learned on Friday that a flight was booked for the court proceeding, and claims no arrangements were made to get him to the airport.
Blinn said he would have to pay meal and other expenses up front and be reimbursed later, butbeing unemployed, he said he couldn’t afford that.
“I feel that I'm standing toe to toe with the Canadian Armed Forces right now and I never thought I would be here,” Blinn said.
Blinn’s lawyer said the agreed penalty for an “absent without leave” charge is a $200 fine, yet it’s costing the Forces thousands of dollars fly him to Shilo, feed and put him up in hotels – along with the lawyers, judge and court staff involved in the trial.
Blinn didn’t have any previous offences, but his last year in Shilo was difficult, he said.
He was having problems at home, and sought help for drinking and mental health issues, he said.
“The embarrassment, the humiliation and everything, I mean I served seven years gladly, I mean I would do it all over again,” Blinn said.
The Department of National Defence did not reply to interview requests before airtime.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Jacqueline Foster