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Anti-vax soldier came close to mutiny, should face severe punishment: court martial

NEW WESTMINSTER, B.C. — The prosecution at a military court martial says a former soldier who served in Afghanistan and Croatia should face severe punishment for using his military rank and uniform to publicly challenge the Canadian Armed Forces’ COVID-19 vaccine mandates.

Prosecutor Major Ben Richard told the court martial in New Westminster, B.C., that reservist Warrant Officer James Topp came close to mutiny when he wore a military uniform while posting two videos to social media criticizing the vaccine mandates.

Richard says Topp’s actions could have spurred protests similar to the storming of the United States Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. 

Topp, who refused to be vaccinated, pleaded guilty Tuesday to two counts of conduct to the prejudice of good order and discipline in relation to the videos he posted criticizing the COVID-19 vaccine requirements for military personnel. 

He faces a maximum punishment of dismissal with disgrace, but his lawyer, Phillip Millar, says his client should be granted an absolute discharge from the military or the “smallest fine possible.”

Topp’s sentence is expected to be delivered Thursday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 15, 2023.

The Canadian Press