Politics

Fortin sex assault case on hold until November

The legal team defending Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin has presented a series of documents to the Crown that they say are relevant to his sexual assault case. The former head of Canada's vaccine task force is charged in connection with an alleged incident that took place more than three decades ago.
Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin speaks to reporters outside the Gatineau police station on Aug. 18 after being processed in Gatineau, Que. (Justin Tang/The Canadian Press)

The criminal case against the senior military officer who headed Canada's vaccine rollout has been adjourned until Nov. 5.

The legal team representing Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin appeared in a Gatineau, Que., courtroom today and handed over documents to the Crown that they say are relevant to their client's sexual assault case.

Lawyer Philippe Morneau presented the records. He acknowledged that the Crown has provided more specifics on the allegations against Fortin, who was charged last month with one count of sexual assault in relation to an alleged incident three decades ago.

It was the first time the case had come up in court since the charge was laid.

Fortin did not appear for the brief hearing today.

He was removed as head of the vaccine task force last spring after being charged and has filed a separate Federal Court challenge to get his job back.

On Friday, federal lawyers filed their statement of defence seeking to quash the case.

They argued that his removal as head of Canada's vaccine distribution campaign is now moot because the job no longer exists.

Government lawyers, in their submission, wrote that it is no longer possible for Fortin to be returned to the vaccine post and that, by extension, there's no reason for the court to review the matter.

Fortin and his lawyers have alleged that the decision to remove him last May was political in nature, was unreasonable and lacked procedural fairness.

The submission by federal lawyers argued that the major-general's role in the vaccine distribution system was always seen as temporary and that the Public Health Agency of Canada is not filling the job because others in the public service have taken over the duties.

The decision to cancel his temporary posting "was reasonable and fair," government lawyers said in the submission.

With files from The Canadian Press

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