ARCHIVED - Ex-Master Corporal Clayton Matchee

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Backgrounder / September 15, 2008 / Project number: BG–08.025

Ex-MCpl Matchee was charged under section 130 of the National Defence Act (NDA) with second-degree murder and torture in connection with the 1993 death of Somali national Shidane Abukar Arone. On April 25, 1994, a General Court Martial found him unfit to stand trial as a result of a mental disorder.

The matter was then turned over to the Ontario Review Board, pursuant to section 202.25 of the National Defence Act. On May 25, 1994, the Ontario Review Board confirmed that Ex-MCpl Matchee was unfit to stand trial at his court martial and ordered that he be transferred to the province of Saskatchewan for the purpose of reintegration into society and for his recovery, treatment and continued custody. He was subsequently transferred to the Saskatchewan Hospital in North Battleford, Saskatchewan.

In the past 15 years, three parallel tracks were ongoing to deal with the matter while the charges were outstanding against Ex-MCpl Matchee. First, at least every 12 months, the Saskatchewan Review Board had to hold a hearing to reassess Ex-MCpl Matchee’s fitness to stand trial. Then, a Standing Court Martial had to be convened every two years to determine whether sufficient admissible evidence continued to exist to prosecute Ex-MCpl Matchee. Finally, DMP, as part of the post-charge process, had the continuous requirement to assess whether the evidence continued to be sufficient to justify the continuation of charges and whether the public interest required the prosecution to be continued.

Since 1994, the Saskatchewan Provincial Review Board has conducted regular reviews of the fitness of Ex-MCpl Matchee. The Saskatchewan Review Board has indicated that Mr. Matchee will never be fit to stand trial on the outstanding charges. In the past few years, the Review Board has gradually increased the length of Ex-Cpl Matchee’s visits to his family home and to his local community to the point where on February 12, 2008, Ex-MCpl Matchee was discharged from the hospital to live in the community. A detailed assessment was ordered in respect of what risk, if any, Ex-MCpl Matchee poses to the community, after his discharge from the hospital. The risk assessment provided to the Review Board in April 2008 indicated that Ex-MCpl Matchee “represents no greater threat to the public than any other person with a cognitive defect”. At a teleconference held by the Saskatchewan Review Board on September 8, 2008, it was indicated that during his extended stays out of the Saskatchewan Hospital and since his discharge in February of this year, no incidents constituting risk to the community have been reported.

At the last inquiry held on 24 September 2004 at a Standing Court Martial, the presiding judge ruled that the prosecution had adduced sufficient admissible evidence to put Ex-MCpl Matchee on trial. This decision is available on the Chief Military Judge web site at http://www.forces.gc.ca/cmj/inquiry/2004/2004cm014.i.pdf. The inquiry scheduled for 2006 was postponed as a result of joint applications presented by prosecution and defence counsel and was finally scheduled to commence on 16 September 2008.

Prior to this inquiry and based on the positive comments reported at the 8th of September teleconference, in accordance with her DMP Policy 003/00, Prosecutorial Discretion and Post-Charge Screening, the DMP has concluded that the public interest, including the interests of the CF, does not require that the prosecution against Ex-MCpl Matchee be continued.

With the withdrawal of charges by the DMP, Ex-MCpl Matchee is no different than any other citizen suffering from a brain injury and requiring constant care and supervision. Future personal or public safety concerns, if any, are more appropriately dealt with through applicable provincial legislation.

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