OTTAWA—Recently, the Office of the Judge Advocate General (JAG) announced that it is launching consultations as part of a comprehensive review of the court martial system, the centrepiece of the military justice system. We agree that this system is in dire need of a major overhaul because when compared with the civilian justice system there are a number of important differences not necessarily warranted and hardly justifiable. For instance, a person tried before a court martial is denied the constitutional right to a jury trial. Instead, that person is given a trial by a general court martial composed of a panel of five military members chosen by the chain of command. Such differences carry the potential of resulting and, in some cases, result clearly in unfairness to an accused, a member of the Canadian Armed Forces or members of his or her family.
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