Toronto MP Kevin Vuong, a Navy reservist, faces a summary military trial on Wednesday for failing to disclose that he was criminally charged with sexual assault in 2019.
If found guilty, Vuong could be slapped with what the Navy describes as a “severe reprimand”.
The military began investigating the case last fall after the liberals cut ties with Vuong days before the federal election. The party said Vuong, 33, did not tell them about a sexual assault charge that was filed in 2019 and dropped later that year.
Vuong denied any wrongdoing and said the episode stemmed from a “fanciful claim.”
On Wednesday, Vuong will appear before Deputy Commander of the Naval Reserve, Captain Etienne Landry, in Montreal to face a service charge under the National Defense Act for “conduct to the prejudice of good order and discipline.”
Naval Reserve spokesman Lt. Robert Moore told CBC News that Vuong “has the right to admit none, some or all of the details of the charge.”
Members are required to inform their commanding officer if they are arrested by a civilian authority. Court documents show Vuong was charged in April 2019 in Toronto with a single count of sexual assault, which the Crown withdrew six months later.
“The accused has elected to be tried summarily, and the Deputy Commander of the Naval Reserve (who will be the presiding officer), has elected to try the accused himself in order to maintain transparency with the public and members of the Naval Reserve while pursuing justice in the most appropriate manner,” Moore said in an email.
Vuong, who holds the rank of second lieutenant, was given the choice between a court martial or a summary trial, which is used in the military to deal with less serious offences.
Moore said if Vuong is found guilty, his sentence could include a fine of up to 60% of his basic monthly salary as a Navy reservist. He could also face a reprimand, or even a “severe reprimand”.
“The penalties of a severe reprimand and reprimand are intended to stand out as a stain on the offender’s career record,” the Department of National Defense website said. states.
Vuong told CBC in an email earlier this year that he was “assisting the Navy’s investigation” through his attorney.
The only independent member of the House of Commons, Vuong represents the downtown Toronto riding of Spadina–Fort York. Although the Liberals fired him last fall, the decision came too late for the election. The ballots still listed him as the Liberal candidate.
he once Told a voter he hoped to one day join the Liberals, but Vuong appears to have turned against his former party since then.
In recent weeks, he has been critical of Ottawa’s immigration policies and said on social media that Ontarians are being “cheated” by the Liberal government when they buy gas at the pump.