Franck Gervais, who wore illegal military gear, gets probation, community service
Cantley, Que., man appeared on CBC News speaking as a sergeant on Nov. 11, 2014
The Quebec man who illegally wore a military uniform and medals during last year's Remembrance Day ceremony has received a suspended sentence of probation and community service.
- Gervais pleads guilty to illegally wearing military gear
- Remembrance Day 'sergeant' Franck Gervais not in the military, DND says
- Follow live updates from the courthouse here.
Franck Gervais of Cantley, Que., north of Ottawa, wiped away tears and choked up several times as he told the courtroom his actions were wrong, misguided and inappropriate, and he will regret them for the rest of his life.
He said he had intended to pay homage to soldiers and veterans and didn't mean to offend anyone.
He was sentenced to 12 months of probation and 50 hours of community service through the Collaborative Justice Program.
Tuesday's sentence followed the 33-year-old's guilty plea in March to charges of unlawful use of military uniforms and unlawful use of military decoration while dressed as a sergeant. Two charges of impersonating a public officer were withdrawn.
Gervais was wearing the Canadian Armed Forces ceremonial dress uniform of a sergeant with the Royal Canadian Regiment at the Nov. 11 ceremony broadcast live by CBC News.
He was also wearing the Medal of Bravery, the Special Service Medal with one bar, the Canadian Peacekeeping Service Medal, the NATO Medal for Kosovo and a Canadian Forces Decoration for 12 years of service.
Gervais taken to National Military Cemetery
On Tuesday in court, three veterans read victim impact statements.
The court also heard the results of a restorative justice project that saw Gervais being taken on a tour of the National Military Cemetery in Ottawa on Aug. 1 by retired Major Gerald S. Wharton.
"From the beginning to the end of our two and a half hours together, Mr. Gervais displayed appreciation for what the program had offered and was profusely thankful for my part in it," Wharton wrote in his prepared statement, which was filed with the courthouse before his testimony.
"He was attentive to what he was experiencing and attempted to explain the esteem in which he held the Canadian Armed Forces, his desire to be part of it and his frustration of being unable to penetrate that barrier."
Wharton also said he was left with the impression that Gervais's actions in 2014 "had no malicious intent."
Spoke as 'sergeant' in 2014 interview
After a brief interview during the Nov. 11 broadcast in 2014, in which Gervais spoke as a "sergeant," a number of veterans and soldiers called CBC News to question his status.
Gervais is not a member of the Canadian Forces.
Court heard Gervais was a cadet for several years in the 1990s, but never joined the military. He was arrested in Ottawa in November and later charged.
His misrepresentations on Nov. 11 did not end at the Remembrance Day ceremony, according to the agreed statement of facts heard in court.
Gervais and his wife went to the Canadian War Museum, where author Rod McLeod was promoting his book, Vigil, the statement said. Gervais spoke to McLeod and an officer with the Canadian reserves, falsely claiming he had been a paratrooper and had earned the Medal of Bravery.
Franck Gervais's lawyer, Claude Levesque, had requested an adjournment to sentencing in May.