A former Canadian Forces commando will face a court martial in Gatineau, Que., in June on a charge of desertion after he mysteriously vanished overseas for almost two years.
Two other charges against former sergeant Montgomery Paisley, who served with the Ottawa-based Joint Task Force 2 special forces unit, have been dropped. Those charges included absence without leave and stealing, which was related to the alleged theft of a military laptop computer.
If found guilty of desertion, Mr. Paisley could face up to two years in jail and dismissal with disgrace from the Canadian Forces, said military spokeswoman Major Laurie Kannegiesser. "The dismissal with disgrace would be retroactive," she said, adding that Mr. Paisley has already been released from the military.
And in another chapter in Mr. Paisley's mysterious disappearance, the Department of Foreign Affairs is claiming it cannot "confirm or deny" that it ever wrote a single word about the former soldier. The excessive level of government secrecy has been common in the case of the JTF2 explosives expert, who vanished in the summer of 2003.
Mr. Paisley's disappearance and his intricate knowledge of explosives were enough to set off alarm bells in Thailand during an October, 2003, APEC summit of world leaders. Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra told journalists at the time that the country's police were hunting for the Canadian, whom he described as "a mentally ill person." It was only later revealed that Mr. Paisley was a member of JTF2.
Last year, Mr. Paisley walked into the Canadian embassy in Bangkok and said he wanted to go home. When he was returned to Canada, he was held at an "undisclosed defence location," because military officials were concerned news agencies might try to photograph him. By then, photos of a youthful Mr. Paisley had already appeared on the Internet.
Who knows what Paisley could have been up during those two years in Thailand? He sounds like someone who would have been of interest to terrorist groups, unfriendly regimes or anyone else looking for mercenaries.
Whatever else he may have done, it's clear the feds don't think he did much worse than desert, or he'd be getting much worse thrown at him than desertion.
Anyone out there know anything more about this case?
Source: National Post