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Former Canadian Forces captain pleads guilty to charges at court martial
A Canadian flag sits on a member of the Canadian Armed Forces in this file photo. (Lars Hagberg/The Canadian Press)
CHARLOTTETOWN -- A former Canadian Forces captain has been demoted and fined after pleading guilty at a court martial in Charlottetown to charges in connection with making sexual comments to a female cadet.
Todd Bannister entered the plea Tuesday following opening statements in his second court martial on the charges.
Bannister was originally acquitted in February 2018, but in May 2019 the Court Martial Appeal Court of Canada overturned the verdicts and ordered a new court martial.
Bannister was accused of making inappropriate sexual comments to a female cadet when she was 18 years old and again when she was 19.
According to court documents, the statements made would not constitute a criminal offence under the Criminal Code, but the question was how they would be viewed under the National Defence Act.
The comments suggested the young woman have sex with Bannister.
The documents say the first comment was made in an office in Charlottetown, and the second one at a railway station in Montreal.
Bannister pleaded guilty to two charges of conduct to the prejudice of good order and discipline, while two charges of behaving in a disgraceful manner were withdrawn.
The judge, Cmdr. J.B.M. Pelletier, agreed with a joint submission by the prosecution and defence and reduced Bannister in rank from captain to lieutenant and fined him $1,500.
Bannister enrolled in the Primary Reserve in July 1989, then later re-enrolled as a Cadet Instructor Cadre Officer.
He was promoted to the rank of captain in January 2014, but released from the Canadian Forces last August.