A Canadian Armed Forces personnel facing several charges against a colleague during his time in Halifax has been found not guilty after no evidence was presented in court.
The court martial for Master Cpl. Anthony Chand started Monday in Toronto, where he faced charges of sexual assault, sexual assault causing physical harm, and forcible confinement under the Criminal Code of Canada and under the National Defence Act.
Two additional charges were withdrawn before the end of the trial.
Major Max Reede, a prosecutor with the Canadian Prosecution Service, said they were ready to present evidence come Tuesday.
However, on Monday evening, Reede said they received information that led them to arrive at the decision that there was no longer a reasonable prospect of conviction in the matter.
“We have a duty, obviously, not to … continue a prosecution when that threshold isn’t met,” Reede said Tuesday.
“As a result, we led [with] no evidence today, which led to the finding of not guilty on all charges.”
Charges laid last February
Reede said he could not offer any additional details regarding what kind of information he received, or where it came from.
The Canadian Forces National Investigation Service started an investigation in July 2019 after a complaint from a Reserve Forces personnel. There were two reported cases over a span of 6 months between 2014 and 2015 in the Halifax-Dartmouth area.
The 5 charges were brought forward in Feb. 2020 when the complainant was residing in Quebec.
The complainant has been informed on all court developments, including Tuesday’s outcome, Reede said.
“We are approaching this with as much compassion as we can in the circumstances,” said Reede.
Chand’s defense lawyer, Maj. Francesca Ferguson, said Tuesday she was happy with the development in the case for her client.
“He’s happy to be able to hopefully move forward from this now. It’s been hanging over his head for almost two years,” Ferguson said.
Chand is an imaging technician with the Canadian Forces College based in Toronto.