Former top military commander pleads guilty to obstruction of justice

Canada’s former top military commander has pleaded guilty to a single charge of obstructing justice in the most high-profile case of the sexual misconduct crisis that has rocked the Department of Defense to its core.

Jonathan Vance was charged by military police last summer as part of an investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct.

Vance appeared virtually in an Ottawa court where he pleaded guilty on Wednesday morning.

The judge accepted a joint request from the Crown and the defense and sentenced him to parole, plus 12 months probation.

His attorney, Rodney Sellar, read a number of letters of support in the court filing. Vance, at sentencing, chose not to address the court.

The Canadian Forces National Investigation Service (CFNIS) laid the sole charge against Vance, but did not provide details.

The CFNIS only said the charge relates to events that occurred after military police began investigating Vance over an allegation of misconduct on Feb. 4, 2021.

Provincial court documents allege Vance “willfully” attempted to obstruct justice by repeatedly contacting Maj. Kellie Brennan and attempting to persuade her to make false statements to investigators.

Brennan, a staff officer at Army Headquarters, told Global News last winter that she and the former chief of defense staff had an on-going intimate relationship. She later testified before a parliamentary committee and claimed that Vance fathered two of her eight children.

At the start of the controversy, speaking to Global News, he denied any wrongdoing.