Soldier blasted for conduct after prank

A soldier already demoted for an April Fool's Day prank that left two people injured was fined and reprimanded Thursday.

A five-member military panel found Col. Marc Ouellet, 50, guilty of poor conduct that discredited the Canadian Armed Forces.

But he was acquitted of several more serious charges, including drunkenness, trying to pervert the course of justice, and obstructing a peace officer.

Two officers were slightly injured when an explosive device used to scare off bears blew up at a mess dinner on April 1, 2000.

Military police tried to get to the bottom of what happened, but Ouellet was accused of telling investigators that there were no witnesses.

Fined $5,000

"He made a serious error in judgment, displayed a very bad example and brought discredit to the Canadian Forces," military Judge Alain Menard said Thursday.

The panel concluded that Ouellet didn't actually try to derail the investigation. But it ruled he did make a mistake trying to keep the probe in-house.

Menard fined him $5,000 and ordered that a letter of reprimand be permanently placed on file.

Ouellet, who has spent 31 years in the military, lost his command of 15 Wing Moose Jaw soon after the incident.

He now works as an executive assistant to the air force's commanding officer in Ottawa.

A civilian guest at the dinner who's accused of actually setting off the explosion still faces criminal prosecution.