Retired Canadian soldier found guilty of sex assault, secretly recording coworkers

Retired Canadian soldier found guilty of sex assault, secretly recording coworkers

Colin McGregor found guilty of five out of seven charges he faced

A former Canadian Armed Forces member has been found guilty of five charges relating to sexual assault, voyeurism and disgraceful conduct after facing a court martial at CFB Esquimalt.

In the small courtroom, retired Cpl. Colin McGregor sat quietly Monday morning, while Military Judge Cmdr. Martin Pelletier read his reasons for the guilty verdict on five of the seven charges McGregor faced.

Three women sat in the front row, wiping tears and shaking their heads occasionally while the judgment was read. The women’s names are protected by a publication ban. According to prosecutor Maj. Greg Moorehead, two of the women are named in the charges while the third is a family member who was there for emotional support.

RELATED: Court martial underway for retired CAF member accused of sex crimes in Esquimalt

The offences occurred between Jan. 1, 2011 and Jan. 30, 2017 in Alexandria, Virginia in the United States – where McGregor was living and working as a resource management support clerk with Canadian Defence liaison staff – and in Victoria.

McGregor was convicted of placing spy cameras and audio recording devices in a Canadian Armed Forces colleague’s residence – in order to record her for sexual purposes – as well as the Canadian Embassy in Washington D.C.

According to Pelletier’s reasoning, McGregor was given access to a coworkers home to feed her fish while she was away at Christmas time. A few weeks later, the coworker found a USB drive behind her headboard, along with another recording device on a bookshelf across from her bed.

McGregor also used a digital clock with a camera hidden in it to record women going to the bathroom in his home.

In text messages between McGregor and one of the victims, McGregor stated he was sorry for his actions and had only recorded her secretly to know what she said about him in his absence.

RELATED: Retired Canadian Armed Forces member, accused of hiding cameras in bathrooms, awaits verdict in Esquimalt

The court heard that along with the photos found on the recording devices, there was a video showing the left hand and forearm of the cameraman inappropriately touching an unconscious woman laying on the ground. The video, taken in Esquimalt in 2011, showed a tattoo similar to one on McGregor’s arm. Another video, appearing to be taken from outside her home, showed a victim engaging in intercourse inside.

One of the victims affirmed she was the unconscious woman in the first video, believing it to be taken on a night when she invited McGregor over for drinks and video games. She described a period of blacking out and awoke to find McGregor touching her inappropriately, thus ending their friendship abruptly.

McGregor originally faced a court martial trial in September 2018. All evidence was presented, but McGregor was not presented with a verdict.

Pelletier was unable to move forward with issuing a verdict after a separate court martial case found that it was unconstitutional to deny military members the right to ask for a trial by a full jury. Ordinarily, military members may ask for a trial by jury, but instead of 12 people which civilians face, military personnel face five.

The decision put a wrench in usual proceedings, as it called into question whether the military has the jurisdiction to try serious cases.

As a result, Pelletier adjourned the court to await more progress in the Supreme Court of Canada for a final decision, and clarification as to how to progress.

This, said defence lawyer David Hodson, impeded on McGregor’s right to a trial without delay. A 2016 decision with the Supreme Court of Canada states that a person has the right to be tried within 18 months of their charges.

Hodson presented an application on May 27 to stay the charges against McGregor as a result of an unreasonable delay, but Pelletier dismissed the application and the trial moved forward.

Maj. Greg Moorehead, representing the victims of Colin McGregor, speaks to the media outside the court marital in CFB Esquimalt, after McGregor was found guilty of five charges relating to sexual assault, voueryism and disgraceful conduct. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)

According to Moorehead, McGregor will not spend time in military jail since he has already been released, but whether he goes to a provincial or a federal penitentiary will be decided by civilian corrections services.

One of the charges McGregor was found guilty of — disgraceful conduct — falls under the National Defence Act, which, according to Moorehead, captures behaviors that are breaches of personal discipline. “Personal discipline is critical to the military … one must demonstrate a habit of obedience to orders and must do as they’re told in critical times,” says Moorehead, adding the charge can carry a sentence of up to five years imprisonment.

“Sexual assault is very personal and extremely corrosive,” he says. “It degrades cohesion, military effectiveness and morale which is unique to the military and is something that must be prosecuted.”

Court continues this week with victim impact statements. Sentencing is expected by the end of the week. According to Moorehead, there is provision for the reduction of rank that will be added to jail time.

With files from Nicole Crescenzi



kendra.crighton@blackpress.ca

Follow us on Instagram
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Andrea Cupelli of the Comox Valley Coalition to End Homelessness told council the coalition’s needs assessment for non-market housing continues to grow throughout the region, as well as within Comox. . File photo
Coalition to end homelessness asking for additional funding from Comox

The coalition’s needs assessment for non-market housing continues to grow

Work on the first phase of renovations at the Village of Cumberland office is nearing completion. Record file photo
Cumberland office close to re-opening after reno

First phase with COVID measures should be done this month

Cumberland has long gone its own way when it comes to parks. Record file photo
Cumberland hesitant about regional park service

Community was left out of area park plan back fifty years ago

Comox town hall. Black Press file photo
Comox looking at proposed CVRD parks service; councillor seeks to include UNDRIP in framework

Coun. Stephanie McGowan proposed a motion to bring UNDRIP to the town’s framework

3L Developments has stated it is pulling the plug on its plans to build a residential neighbourhood in the Stotan Falls area. The company has repeatedly offered to turn the Stotan Falls area into parkland, if the CVRD were to amend its Regional Growth Strategy to allow for a residential community to be built in the area. The CVRD has steadfastly turned down the development company. File photo.
3L says negotiations for Stotan Falls development and parkland are over

The company said there will be no further development applications filed with the CVRD

Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry head for the press theatre at the B.C. legislature for an update on COVID-19, Jan. 7, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 spread steady with 509 new cases Friday

Hospitalized and critical care cases decline, nine deaths

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Seasonal influenza vaccine is administered starting each fall in B.C. and around the world. (Langley Advance Times)
After 30,000 tests, influenza virually nowhere to be found in B.C.

COVID-19 precautions have eliminated seasonal infection

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau listens to a question during a news conference outside Rideau cottage in Ottawa, Friday, January 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau says Canada’s COVID vaccine plan on track despite Pfizer cutting back deliveries

Canadian officials say country will still likely receive four million doses by the end of March

Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon shared a handwritten note his son received on Jan. 13, 2021. (Ravi Kahlon/Twitter)
Proud dad moment: B.C. minister’s son, 10, receives handwritten note for act of kindness

North Delta MLA took to Twitter to share a letter his son received from a new kid at school

Lilly and Poppy, two cats owned by Kalmar Cat Hotel ownder Donna Goodenough, both have cerebellAr hypoplasia, a genetic neurological condition that affects their ability to control their muscles and bones. Photo by Alistair Taylor – Campbell River Mirror
VIDEO: Wobbly Cats a riot of flailing legs and paws but bundles of love and joy to their owner

Woman urges others to not fear adopting cats with disabilities

Michael Buble is an Order of B.C. recipient. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Nominations being accepted for B.C.’s highest honour

Nominations are being accepted for the Order of British Columbia, the Province’s… Continue reading

Dr. Shannon Waters, the medical health officer for the Cowichan Valley Region, is reminding people to stay the course with COVID-19 measures. (File photo)
‘Stay the course’ with COVID measures, Island Health reminds

Limit social activity, wash hands, wear a mask, and isolate if you feel sick

Cowichan Tribes members line up at a drive-up clinic on Wednesday, Jan. 13 to receive the first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine in the region. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
BCAFN condems racism against Cowichan Tribes after COVID-19 outbreak

“Any one of us could do everything right and still catch the virus”: Regional Chief Terry Teegee.

Most Read