A former Canadian Armed Forces member who allegedly hid cameras in bathrooms and bedrooms in various locations in Canada and the United states is still awaiting a verdict from the military court in CFB Esquimalt on Vancouver Island.
Retired Cpl. Colin McGregor is facing seven charges including sexual assault, voyeurism and covert surveillance. He allegedly placed hidden cameras in several settings, including in a washroom in the Canadian Embassy in Washington D.C.
A police search of his home in Virginia recovered several pinhole spy cameras, a digital clock with a camera hidden in it, three smoke alarms with cameras hidden in it, as well as audio recording devices, external hard drives, and a laptop. Images found on these devices show people using the washroom, showering and having sex – all, according to complainants– taken without consent.
McGregor originally faced a court martial trial in September 2018. All evidence was presented, but McGregor was not presented with a verdict.
Military Judge Cmdr. Martin Pelletier was unable to move forward with issuing a verdict after a separate court martial case, R v Beaudry, found that it was unconstitutional to deny military members the right to ask for a trial by a full jury. Ordinarily, military members may ask for a trial by jury, but instead of 12 people which civilians face, military personnel face five.
The decision has put a wrench in usual proceedings, as it called into question whether the military has the jurisdiction to try serious cases.
As a result, Pelletier adjourned the court to await more progress in the Supreme Court of Canada for a final decision, and clarification as to how to progress.
This, said defense lawyer David Hodson, impedes on McGregor’s right to a trial without delay. A 2016 decision from the Supreme Court of Canada, R v. Jordan, states that a person has the right to be tried within 18 months of their charges.
Hodson presented an application on May 27 to stay the charges against McGregor as a result of an unreasonable delay, but Pelletier dismissed the application.
McGregor sat quietly at the front of the courtroom at CFB Esquimalt as this was reiterated on the morning of May 28, and as prosecutor Cmdr. Saloumeh Torani pushed for a sealing order on many of the digital records. Pelletier would approve the sealing orders that afternoon.
McGregor is a large man with combed back, peppered dark hair. He wore a black suit and did not move throughout the morning’s discussions. He was so still that it was only after court was adjourned that media could see he had a beard and frameless glasses.
Pelletier is set to further discuss his decision to dismiss the delay application on May 29. A date for the reading of the verdict is yet to be announced.
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