OTTAWA – Canada’s former top military commander pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice on Wednesday in connection with a military police investigation into allegations that he engaged in sexual misconduct while leading the country’s military.
Jonathan Vance, the former chief of the defense staff, is one of several current and former Canadian military commanders under investigation for sexual impropriety. The growing scandal has undermined public confidence in Canada’s military.
In court documents, the military police charged that Mr. Vance, a retired general, “willfully” attempted to obstruct justice when he repeatedly telephoned Maj. Kellie Brennan and attempted to persuade her to give false statements to investigators. Major Brennan has identified herself in media interviews and before Parliament as one of the people who made complaints against Mr. Vance. She testified at a Parliamentary committee that Mr. Vance is the father of two of her eight children.
After Mr. Vance entered a guilty plea before the Ontario Court of Justice, he was granted a conditional discharge which will spare him a criminal record on those charges. He was sentenced to 12 months probation and 80 hours of community service.
The court also ordered him not to have any contact with Major Brennan outside of family law proceedings related to one of the children he fathered with her.