Saturday, March 24, 2012

Royal Canadian Air Force slept while guarding Prime Minister's plane

TORONTO -- An RCAF corporal has been fined $500 for falling asleep while guarding the aircraft of Prime Minister Stephen Harper and other government members during a trip to Morocco.

Master Cpl. C.J.S. Agnew was found guilty by a standing court martial on March 5 at CFB North Bay, according to documents from his court martial.

Chief Military Judge Cmdr. Peter Lamont said Agnew pleaded guilty to a charge of neglect to the prejudice of good order and discipline and can pay his fine in $100 installments.

“The facts of this case are not complicated,” Lamont said in a ruling. When a new shift came aboard to take over the responsibilities “they discovered that the offender was apparently asleep in the vehicle.”

“The offender was charged with the responsibility of guarding the plane,” the decision stated. “He was awakened after about a minute of observation.”

The court martial heard Agnew was responsible for guarding the expensive jet transporting Harper on a Jan. 2011 stopover in Rabat, Morocco.

The prime minister was on a one-day stop in North Africa where he paid a visit to the tomb of the “father of modern-day Morocco” -- King Mohammed V -- and had an audience with King Mohammed VI, to whom power passed in 1999.

The hearing was told Agnew enrolled in the Canadian Forces in 1985 and has served continuously since.

“Throughout his long career in the Canadian Forces he has discharged his duties with vigor and effectiveness,” Lamont ruled. “I have every reason to suppose that what happened on the date alleged in this offense is a single incident out of character for this offender.”

Lamont said Agnew had no record of previous incidents of a disciplinary nature and is a married man with responsibilities for dependents.


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