A military court martial is underway in Charlottetown involving a commanding officer of a cadet corps charged under the National Defence Act.
Capt. Todd Bannister, 46, faces charges related to use of inappropriate language, sexual in nature, stemming from three alleged incidents on P.E.I. starting in 2012. He's facing three charges of behaving in a disgraceful manner, and three charges of conduct to the prejudice of good order and discipline.
Bannister has been under suspension as commanding officer of a cadet corps in Charlottetown since the unit found out about the allegations.
Bannister has pleaded not guilty to all the charges.
Two young women under his command made the complaints.
He's accused of twice using expletives to ask a woman to have sex, and the third incident involves allegedly making crude sexual remarks about women under his command.
One woman testified Monday that she was shocked when Bannister first propositioned her.
'Hit me out the blue'
"Out of the blue he said, hey you should f--k me on my desk," she said. "It kind of hit me out of the blue. I was nervous after that."
In a second incident in 2015 she alleges he asked her, "Hey, want to f--k?" or words to that effect.
She told the military court Monday that when she confronted him after the second incident Bannister said he was just trying to lighten the mood. She told court it wasn't funny.
The woman also testified Bannister had been helpful, sensitive and supportive in the past, and that she was surprised by his words.
Bannister's lawyer questioned the woman's memory of what happened, and he suggested she may have overreacted because she misunderstood what Bannister said.
Court documents outline a third incident, in which Bannister is alleged to have said "there's a lot of boobage around here" or words to that effect, in the presence of the second complainant.
The court martial, being held at HMCS Queen Charlotte, is slated to run five days.
Such hearings are relatively rare on P.E.I. About 60 people attended Monday's hearing, including members of Bannister's family.
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