According to his lawyer, the sexual assault charge against retired Lt.-Gen. Trevor Cadieu has been halted by the Ontario Court of Justice due to excessive delay in bringing the case to trial.
Cadieu was poised to take command of the Canadian Army in 2021. His case is the second military sexual offence trial to be terminated in recent months due to delays in civilian court.
Cadieu’s lawyer, Scott Hutchison, stated in a media release that the court halted the charge against his client due to the prosecution violating his constitutional right to a prompt trial. Hutchison further declared that this development definitively concludes the case.
Cadieu’s trial date was scheduled for February in Kingston, Ont. His legal team argued his right to a trial within a reasonable time, guaranteed by the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, had been violated.
In 2016, the Supreme Court of Canada set ceilings for permissible delays in bringing cases to trial. Cases coming through provincial court are supposed to be tried and completed within 18 months.
A former corporal from the Canadian Armed Forces expressed her lack of trust in the justice system’s capacity to handle military sexual assault cases. This sentiment arose when a judge decided to reluctantly drop the charge in her case due to a 21-month delay.
Arianna Nolet expressed concern that without prompt action from the courts, there could be additional victims facing similar circumstances as her own. The judge criticized both the prosecution and defense for neglecting the case for several months and not making sufficient efforts to address the resulting delays.
In June 2022, Cadieu faced charges of sexual assault for incidents that were reportedly carried out in 1994 at Royal Military College Kingston. The Canadian Forces Provost Marshal announced these charges last year. However, in court, the initial two counts were reduced to a single count in Kingston.
His lawyer stated that Cadieu entered a plea of not guilty in court and refuted the accusations.
Since Cadieu’s charge has been stayed, his trial has ended and no verdict of guilty or not guilty has been reached.
Hutchison stated that the significance of assuming innocence and promptly evaluating all evidence and information has been repeatedly understood. These rights, guaranteed to all Canadians by the Charter, have been acknowledged.
Hutchison stated that Cadieu remained cooperative with both military investigators and the courts during the entire process.
“He expressed unwavering belief in his eventual victory, however, the journey has caused immense stress for both him and his family,” he penned.
Cadieu’s case is among the first to reach a conclusion in civilian court since the military started transferring dozens of sexual offence cases to the civilian system in late 2021.
Retired Supreme Court justice Louise Arbour called on the military to hand over sexual offence files to the civilian system as part of her interim recommendations on military sexual misconduct. Then-defence minister Anita Anand acted on that recommendation, which was meant to restore trust in the military.
Cadieu left the military in the previous year. He expressed that he chose not to receive a salary during the investigation and was actively pursuing different prospects.
Cadieu later told CBC News that he was in Ukraine in 2022 — following Russia’s full-scale invasion — when he learned that he had been charged by the Canadian Armed Forces Investigative Service and made arrangements to return to Canada.