Canada's top military judge charged in alleged fraud

Canada's highest-ranking military judge has been charged in an alleged fraud involving false documents and an inappropriate relationship with a subordinate.

Col. Mario Dutil accused of falsifying travel claim, having inappropriate relationship

Canada's chief military judge Col. Mario Dutil has been charged by military investigators under the National Defence Act. (Frédéric Pepin/Radio-Canada)

Canada's highest-ranking military judge has been charged in an alleged fraud involving false documents and an inappropriate relationship with a subordinate.

The Canadian Forces National Investigative Service charged Col. Mario Dutil with three counts under the National Defence Act including fraud, wilfully making a false entry in a document and conduct prejudicial to good order and discipline.

According to public affairs officer Lt. Blake Peterson, the charges relate to a travel claim Dutil is alleged to have filed and an inappropriate relationship with a subordinate. Military police allege the offences took place between November 2014 and October 2015.

Dutil has been a military judge since 2001 and the chief military judge since 2006.

The head of the investigative service said rank is not a factor in its investigations.

"Rank or appointment plays no factor in investigating the facts of the matter. We respect the judicial process and thoroughly investigate through gathering the facts, analyzing the evidence, and when appropriate, laying applicable charges," said Lt.-Col. Kevin Cadman in a statement. 

No further details of Dutil's alleged misdeeds have been released.

Commodore Geneviève Bernatchez, the judge advocate general, who oversees the military justice system, echoed Cadman's remarks.  

"Today's announcement serves to remind us that, as in the civilian justice system, no one is above the law," she said in a statement.

She declined to comment on the specifics of the case, but said the system was well equipped to handle the situation.

"The military justice system has the appropriate mechanisms to deal with this exceptional situation, fairly and in accordance with the law," she said. "I have every confidence that all actors of the military justice system will continue to perform their duties in a fair, independent and impartial manner."

CBC tried to contact Dutil at his office late Thursday afternoon, but could not reach him.