Navy backs former skipper of cocaine-plagued ship
The Canadian navy has not taken any disciplinary action against the former commanding officer of HMCS Saskatoon, despite the fact thatmany of the ship's crew were using cocaine, CBC News has learned.
Lt.-Cmdr. Mark McIntyre, a spokesman for Marine Forces Pacific in Victoria, said the navy had and has full confidence in Lt.-Cmdr.Jeffrey White, who was the captain of HMCS Saskatoon in 2005 and 2006.
"I think it's unreasonable to expect a commanding officer or any officer or leader on board a ship to know every detail about what goes on ashore among members of his or her crew," McIntyre told CBC News in an interview Friday.
McIntyre said White brought in National Investigation Service officials as soon as a complaint about drug use was made.
Earlier this month, a military court heard that 10 to 12 members of the 31-member crew on HMCS Saskatoon used cocaine regularly in January 2006.
In August,Jason Ennis, 24, a member of HMCS Saskatoon, was convicted of cocaine use and fined $2,000.
Two other crew members, Sonya Robert, 27,and Brenda Murley, 28, pleaded guilty to cocaine use in the January 2006 case earlier in the year, and were fined $500 each.
Former chief petty officer Robert Carlson has been charged with possession and trafficking, and his court martial is scheduled for the fall. All four have been discharged from the Canadian Forces.
'Large gap' between senior, junior crew members: official
After the cocaine scandal came to light, anothernavy official was brought on board to deal with the lack of morale and discipline among the remaining crew of the Saskatoon.
Chief Petty Officer Leonard Hearns said he told one court martial that people under White's command did not want to work together.
Hearns testified on Aug. 13 there was "a very large gap" between the "lower deck," the term for the junior ranks, and the "upper deck," which includes commissioned officers such as White.
White was never removed from his command, but has since moved on to command the sail-training vessel Oriole, which is also based at CFB Esquimalt on Vancouver Island.