Former soldier and reservist who defied Canadian Armed Forces COVID-19 vaccination mandate fined $4,000 and given harsh reprimand following court martial in Colombia -British.
Warrant Officer James Topp pleaded guilty to two charges of conduct to the prejudice of good order and discipline in connection with two videos he posted on social media criticizing the Army’s vaccine policy.
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Military Judge Cmdr. Julie Deschenes told the court martial the sentence was fair and appropriate, emphasizing that Topp took responsibility for his actions and was taking steps to get his life in order.
She said she believed Topp was in a state of despair in February 2022 when he made the videos and engaged in public protests.
Topp is a 52-year-old reservist and former armed forces soldier with more than 30 years of service in multiple deployments to Croatia, Afghanistan and other war zones.
He told a court martial this week that he was on the verge of suicide in November 2021 after being suspended from his federal public service job with the RCMP while facing charges for his anti-vaccine position.
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Deschenes said the case is not about personal opinions and positions regarding the COVID-19 vaccine, but about Topp’s failure to fulfill his duties as a member of the military.
“You admitted that making these broadcasts and statements as a member of the CAF (Canadian Armed Forces) in uniform was wrong,” she said. “Now you face the consequences.”
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