Army fines MP Kevin Vuong for failing to report criminal charge

A Royal Canadian Navy official on Wednesday fined Independent MP and Royal Canadian Navy Reserve Officer Kevin Vuong $500 for failing to inform his commanding officer of a criminal charge against him.

Vuong chose to face a summary trial instead of a court martial. The trial took place Wednesday morning at HMCS Donnacona, a Navy reserve unit in Montreal. The Deputy Commander of the Naval Reserve, Captain Etienne Landry, presided over the trial.

Vuong was facing 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 admitted full details of the charge during the trial. He said Captain Landry concluded that a fine of $500 was the most appropriate sentence.

Toronto police charged Vuong with a single count of sexual assault in April 2019. Military law requires members of the Canadian Armed Forces to disclose such charges to their commanding officers, which Vuong did not.

The Crown withdrew the charge six months after it was filed.

Speaking to reporters after the decision, Vuong said he would comment in more detail later.

“I’m here in uniform out of respect for the (Canadian Armed Forces),” Vuong said.

“I don’t believe this is the right place and this is the right time, but I want to encourage you all to contact my office to find a time and…let’s clear the air.”

Vuong, who holds the rank of second lieutenant, is currently the only independent MP. The Liberal Party dumped him as a candidate in the 2021 federal election campaign after reports of the past sexual assault charge against him emerged. The party said Vuong did not tell them about the accusation during the candidate selection process.

The party’s disallowance of Vuong came too late in the campaign to remove his name from the ballot as a Liberal candidate. He was elected in the Toronto riding of Spadina—Fort York with 38.9% of the vote.

Vuong denied any wrongdoing and called the allegation behind the accusation a “fantasy”. He also pointed to the withdrawal of the charge as proof of his innocence.