Nova Scotia

Military member accused of sex assault in N.S. found not guilty

Canadian Armed Forces member Master Cpl. Anthony Chand has been found not guilty of sex assault charges after no evidence was presented at trial during the court martial in Toronto.

Prosecutors did not enter evidence at Tuesday's court martial

The court martial for Master Cpl. Anthony Chand began Monday in Toronto. (Lars Hagberg/The Canadian Press)

A Canadian Armed Forces member facing multiple charges against a colleague during his time in Halifax has been found not guilty after no evidence was presented at trial.

The court martial for Master Cpl. Anthony Chand began Monday in Toronto, where he faced charges of sexual assault, sexual assault causing bodily harm, and forcible confinement under the Criminal Code of Canada and under the National Defence Act.

Two other charges were withdrawn before the end of the trial.

Maj. Max Reede, a prosecutor with the Canadian Military Prosecution Service, said they were ready to present evidence Tuesday.

On Monday evening, however, Reede said they received information that led them to conclude there was no longer a reasonable prospect of conviction in the case.

"We have a duty, obviously, not to ... continue a prosecution when that threshold isn't met," Reede said Tuesday.

"As a result, we led [with] no evidence today, which led to the finding of not guilty on all charges."

Charges laid last February

Reede said he couldn't provide any more details about what kind of information he received, or where it came from.

The Canadian Forces National Investigation Service began an investigation in July 2019 following a complaint from a Reserve Forces member. There were two alleged incidents over a span of six months between 2014 and 2015 in the Halifax-Dartmouth area.

The five charges were laid in February 2020 while the complainant was living in Quebec.

The complainant has been briefed on all court developments, Reede said, including Tuesday's outcome. 

"We are approaching this with as much compassion as we can in the circumstances," said Reede.

Chand's defence lawyer, Maj. Francesca Ferguson, said Tuesday she was pleased with the development in the case for her client.

"He's happy to be able to hopefully move forward from this now. It's been hanging over his head for almost two years," Ferguson said.

Chand is an image technician with the Canadian Forces College in Toronto.