May 03, 2019 – Ottawa – National Defence/Canadian Armed Forces
On Tuesday, 23 April 2019, the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service (CFNIS) has charged a member of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) with sexual assault under the Criminal Code of Canada. The charge is in response to an incident which was reported to the Military Police at CFB Wainwright, AB, in October 2018 involving another military member.
Warrant Officer Jeffrey Winfield, a Regular Force member serving with the Calgary Highlanders, Calgary, AB faces the following charge.
- One (1) count of Sexual Assault contrary to section 271 of the Criminal Code.
On 13 October 2018, the CFNIS was informed of the incident and assumed investigation ownership of the file.
The matter is now proceeding through civilian justice system. The accused’s first appearance is to be at a local court house in Wainwright, AB and has been scheduled for 23 May 2019.
“The CFNIS investigates serious and sensitive criminal allegations involving members of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) while serving around the globe. All CAF members are expected to serve in a lawful, professional and respectful manner at all times.
This investigation demonstrates the continued resolve by the CAF to provide a safe environment, free from harmful and inappropriate sexual behaviour.”
Lieutenant-Commander Bryan MacLeod, Acting Commanding Officer, Canadian Forces National Investigation Service
In all cases, the subject of charges is presumed innocent until proven guilty. The matter is now proceeding in civilian justice system. The accused first appearance at Alberta Provincial Court in Wainwright AB. is scheduled to be on 23 May 2019.
The CFNIS is a specialized unit established within Canadian Forces Military Police Group (CFMP Gp). Its primary mandate is to investigate serious and sensitive matters in relation to Department of National Defence (DND) property, DND employees and CAF personnel serving in Canada and around the world. The CFMP Gp and the CFNIS conduct police investigations independently, without interference and in accordance with the highest professional standards.
On 19 September 2018, two of three civilian justices of the Court Martial Appeal Court of Canada (CMAC) in the case of R. v. Beaudry found that paragraph 130(1)(a) of the National Defence Act is unconstitutional because it deprives members of the Canadian Armed Forces of the right to a trial by judge and jury for civil offences committed in Canada for which the maximum sentence is five years or more imprisonment.
On 14 January 2019, the Supreme Court of Canada dismissed the Crown’s motion to stay the CMAC’s decision in Beaudry. This means that the finding of unconstitutionality remains in place pending the outcome of the appeal in the matter.
As a result, the CFNIS cannot proceed by laying charges in the military justice system for such cases until the Supreme Court rules on the merits of the appeal that was heard on 26 March 2019. The CFNIS has determined that the appropriate charges in this case was therefore laid within the civilian criminal justice system.