Reinstate Cpl Paonessa in the Canadian Armed Forces
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Despite his best efforts, my brother, Cpl. Frank Paonessa, of the Canadian Armed Forces, was advised that he is no longer suitable for enrolment in the Canadian Armed Forces, and was Honorably Discharged. His last effective day of service was 21 November 2014.
And as such, we, the following people, (be it Canadian Forces Service Members, Veterans, Civilian Staff Members or Others), firmly believe that the Canadian Forces would do well to allow Cpl. Paonessa to return to active service. We politely request that the senior ranking members of the Canadian Forces, members of his unit, members of DMCA and all others involved, including the Chief of Defence Staff, rescind the decision to have him released.
We furthermore request that these agencies focus on the positive aspects of his career within the CAF and also focus on the positive reflection he brings to the CAF. Some of which but not inclusive too, consist of the following:
Assisting other citizens in the community
Implementation of the Child Find Board within Military Police Station at Canadian Forces Base Shilo; and
Assisting soldiers with PTSD in times of distress and need.
These are only some of the factual incidents which represent his character as a dedicated and loyal soldier.
VIOLATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS
Canada is one of the most developed countries in the world. Effective work of various systems of the country contributes to the well-being of the citizens. However, there are cases when the system fails and rights of some individuals are violated. Such situations may happen due to humane factor or a range of other reasons. Regardless of the fact why unfair treatment is applied to people, the government must do everything possible to change the situation and restore the rights of the offended. This rule must be applied with special care to those people who make a contribution to the peace of the society, preventing crimes and solving difficult societal problems. Corporal F.L. Paonessa is one of such. Unfortunately, his outstanding experience for the military services of the country was disregarded and his rights were violated during the court process (Distribution List. Administration Review C13111801-CPL PAONESSA A63 455 038). Immediate actions must be taken on a review of the case and reinstatement of the military at his position. This way, violation of his basic rights will be terminated, and the Corporal will have an opportunity to continue contributing to the well-being of the society and returning to active duty within the Canadian Armed Forces.
Corporal F. L. Paonessa had been working with the Canadian Armed Forces, Regular Force, since the beginning of the year 2008 where he was a member of the Military Police. For the period of his service, the Corporal contributed greatly to the prevention of incidents and finding solutions to serious problems that were related to the lives and health of the citizens of the country and residents of CFB / ASU Shilo. However, Corporal Paonessa was released from the Canadian Armed Forces due to a range of behavior-related reasons. The Corporal’s rights were disregarded in the process of the court decision development, so he must be reinstated with the Canadian Armed Forces Military Police to reestablish his human rights (Distribution List. Administration Review C13111801-CPL PAONESSA A63 455 038).
Corporal F.L. Paonessa has been employed with the above-mentioned services since January 2008. For the years of his professional experience, the Corporal demonstrated a range of outstanding professional qualities which contributed to the well-being of the society. Similarly to other militaries, the Corporal made certain professional mistakes which led him to the court and became the reasons for dismissal. For example, one incident occurred in May 2009 when Corporal Paonessa and his colleagues were in Suffield, Alberta. The policemen had to rent a car which was to be used only to drive to their hotel, to work, and to a nearby mall. However, on May 2, 2009, Paonessa drove to a bar using the rented vehicle. His intention was to pick his colleague up as the man was too intoxicated and needed help with getting to his hotel room. Since Corporal Paonessa had an unauthorized use of a DND rented vehicle, which is prohibited by the Military Police Professional Code of Conduct paragraphs 4(j), he was expected to be charged or applied disciplinary action to (Court File NO t-437-16)
The Attorney examined a range of cases in which Caporal Paonessa was claimed of different misbehaviors, but most of them were not regarded as true due to a lack of evidence. However, the cases that the Attorney General considered as clear led to a range of false allegations. Particularly, corporal Paonessa was claimed of contravention of the Military Police Professional Code of conduct paragraph 4 (g), 4 (i), 4 (j), and 4 (l). These were negligent usage of a weapon, not interfering with investigation conduct in a proper way, usage of his military police information, resources, and the status for unauthorized purposes, and discrediting the military police (Court File NO t-437-16). All of which had insufficient evidence to support.
Corporal Paonessa was also charged under the Criminal Code of Canada, particularly its section 252, for not remaining at the accident scene which he was related to. His other violations were about suppressing, and misrepresentation of information. It is important to mention that Corporal Paonessa wrote a letter to the Chief of the Defense staff in which he recognized his mistakes and asked to be forgiven for all wrong choices that were made by him (Distribution List. Administration Review C13111801-CPL PAONESSA A63 455 038).
This is in direct relational to Alcoholics Anonymous, an organization which the Corporal is a proud member of, Step 5 (Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs, Step 9 (Made direct amends to such people whenever possible except when to do so would injure them or others.) and Step 10 (Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.) This letter was treated as an admission of guilt which was not the case at all, but more so as an apology for not living up to the expectation which Corporal Paonessa wished he had. Analysis of the case demonstrates that the decisions made by the Attorney General could not be based on the articles, chosen as the grounds for the dismissal of the Corporal. Moreover, a range of facts that advocate for innocence of the Corporal in the above charges was not taken into account by the Attorney General. This means that the decisions made were not fair and not based on principles of fairness and equality since evidence of the charging party were taken into account, and those of the accused were disregarded. Further careful consideration of the charged articles and disregarded facts shows that the corporal must be reinstated to his position for the reestablishment of his basic human rights (Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, 2016).
According to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, particularly its section 1, it is not possible to ensure complete meeting of rights and freedoms of people, even under conditions of democracy. Such problem occurs in certain circumstances, which was definitely the case of Corporal Paonessa. It is the task of the government to create a certain balance that would reflect the importance of needs of the society against those of separate individuals. This means that in certain situations Canadian legislation is ready to sacrifice some smaller issues for promotion of the greater good (Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms).
According to the charter, it is necessary to take this idea into account when interpreting all legal issues that take place within the country. However, this idea was not applied to the case of corporal Paonessa. His numerous and significant positive results of work were disregarded. The Corporal’s professional achievements were not appreciated, regardless of the fact that they have not only contributed to the well-being of the society but meant to save lives of people (Distribution List. Administration Review C13111801-CPL PAONESSA A63 455 038) which the Corporal did on more than one occasion.
The Corporal was removed from his position and thus prevented from further contribution to the life of the society. Thus, the Attorney General did not regard the rights of society, as well as those of the aforementioned Corporal, as the issue of the greatest importance. Moreover, according to the Charter, every person has the right to be presumed innocent until their guilt is proven. However, in the case of corporal Paonessa numerous evidence do not have sufficient grounds and are claimed as those that cannot be verified. However, they were taken into account in the process of the service removal decision making. This means that the military was claimed guilty without having his faults proven (Court File NO t-437-16).
Equality rights of corporal Paonessa were also violated in the process of the court. According to the charter, every individual has the right to be treated with the same respect as others. They must not be discriminated, as well as their testimonies. However, some evidence facts that were in favor of Corporal Paonessa were disregarded. Particularly, the Attorney General did not take into account the fact that the Corporal could not always be responsible for his actions due to his mental health conditions; Corporal Paonessa was recognized to be addicted, suffering from chronic depression and severe anxiety, so his actions did not always reveal his will or intentions. Unfortunately, this fact was disregarded by the court and his Chain of Command, while every evidence against the military, while those not proven, were taken into account (Court File NO t-437-16).
It is important to pay attention to the fact that exact violation of this right led to the removal of the Corporal from his service. The reason is that the article which ordered the removal from the service states that the Corporal could be responsible for his activities, while he could not do this due to his addiction, anxiety, and depression (Court File NO t-437-16).
The law of the country also provides certain support programs to people who have serious mental health problems. As a rule, special treatment is ordered by the court to encourage the person to solve the problem and at the same time do not allow the person commit the same mistakes. However, this right of Corporal Paonessa was disregarded as well, specifically when the Corporal requested to be admitted into an Alcohol Rehabilitation program and was denied this opportunity to correct his deficiencies. Thus, it becomes obvious that the court demonstrated prejudice treatment of the accused, which is also violation of his human rights as the law of Canada does not allow any unfair treatment of people on the basis of their background, gender, religion, or any this factor (Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, 2016).
Throughout the Corporal’s enlistment within the Canadian Armed Forces, there were further incidents in which his fundamental rights were violated. This treatment began in 2009. On shift, members of the Military Police were encouraged to attend Physical Training to maintain the high level of physical fitness required for their employment. On one such occasion, the Corporal requested to attend religious services and was subsequently denied after being told that Physical Training while on shift was acceptable but Religious Services were not and that he (The Corporal) would be judged poorly by his peers and Chain of Command for attending Religious Services while on shift. On another incident, while preparing to partake in Physical Training, the Corporal was dressed in his Workout Attire. It was pointed out by a senior member of his Chain of Command that the Corporal was wearing black socks as opposed to white socks. This senior member proceed to (loudly) announce to all members on duty at that time that “Corporal Paonessa is a fucking faggot in black socks and white running shoes. Look at that faggot”. This is a direct violation of the Corporals rights and freedoms, an example of being bullied by the Chain of Command and further demonstrates how the Corporal was mistreated during his time within the Canadian Armed Forces.
Following the aforementioned actions, the Corporal was placed on alternative duties, some of which involved the Corporal having to clean up after members of his Chain of Command, serve them food in the dining hall and also to clean their dishes. The Medical Officer assigned to the Corporal, (Doctor Charles NORMAN) directly contacted the Chain of Command of the Corporal and advised them that this was detrimental to the Corporal’s mental health and also his physical health. This request was disregarded by the Corporal’s Chain of Command causing his Mental Health issues to worsen. The Chain of Command of any enlisted member of the Canadian Armed Forces is to facilitate the member. This was clearly disregarded in the aforementioned incidents. Other disregarded information was the work in the community which the Corporal conducted. Volunteering to sandbag in his community during times of flood, volunteer at the local food bank and also volunteering with the Freemasonry Lodge he was a part of in Ontario and also administering first aid to strangers when it was required.
Taking into account all the above information, it is possible to conclude that service of Corporal Paonessa was far from being perfect. However, his contribution to the life of the society by means of solving crimes, preventing dangerous conflicts, and performance of his other duties is extremely valuable for the society. Regardless of his professional service achievement, corporal Paonessa had to face the court and be removed from his position. There can be no doubts that a range of corporal’s rights were violated in the process of court decision making including a lack of Due Process, a lack of a thorough investigation by the Corporal’s Chain of Command (wherein references were not contacted to validate the Corporal’s character and change in behavior) and also a lack of fairness of the Corporal’s treatment. The situation must be changed and the corporal needs to have an opportunity to be reinstated to his former position as an active member of the Canadian Armed Forces and as an active member of the Military Police without persecution or judgment by his Chain of Command. Such state of affairs will not only contribute to life of the society, but it will also show appreciation to achievements of the military and will prove the fact that Canada is the country that promotes fairness and humane principles of life.
Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. (2016). Retrieved from http://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/Const/page-15.html
Court File NO t-437-16. Federal court between Francesco Paonessa and Attorney General of Canada.
Distribution List. Administration Review C13111801-CPL PAONESSA A63 455 038
Memo to Minister of National Defence.
23 June 2017
REQUEST FOR INTERVENTION AND, CLARIFICATION AND OVERTURN OF DECISION
BY MND. The Hon. Harjit S. Sajjan, PC, OMM, MSM, CD, MP
Minister of National Defense
Reference A: Criminal Code of Canada Section 253
Reference B: Criminal Code of Canada Section 218
Reference C: Criminal Code of Canada Section 266
Reference D: National Defense Act Section 88
Reference E: National Defense Act Sec. 83
Reference F: Chapter 10 of the AA Big Book, http://silkworth.net/originalmanuscript/chapter10.html
Reference G: Essay: The Release of Corporal PAONESSA was a violation of Human Rights
1. The purpose of this memorandum is clarifying the original correspondence with regards to the release of former Corporal Francesco (Frank) L. PAONESSA, SN: A63 455 038, from the Canadian Forces in 2014, as it would appear that initial request was written unclear of said intentions. The writer, the afore mentioned former Corporal PAONESSA, is not only respectfully requesting that the Minister of National Defense of Canada, The Hon. Harjit S. SAJJAN, PC, OMM, MSM, CD, MP, intervene and overturn the conditions of the release of the afore mention former Corporal PAONESSA, and return him to full and active service with reinstatement of rank and privilege, as well as position with the Canadian Forces Military Police. It is further requested to have clarification as to why members of the Canadian Armed Forces (In a variety of ranks) are held to a different standard;
2. The welfare of Canadian Soldiers is one which is of great importance to me as well. That being said, I also firmly believe that there should be a degree of fairness in how both active and released members are treated which was not the case in my situation;
3. In 2011, over 150 soldiers in a variety of ranks (NCM, NCO and Officers), posted to CFB / ASU Shilo were found to have tested positive for narcotic usage, specifically, marijuana and cocaine. The majority of these members were permitted to keep maintain their position and rank within the Canadian Armed Forces;
4. Throughout the member’s employment as a member of the Military Police, the member preformed a variety of arrests for offences such as the following
i. Operation of a Motor Vehicle with greater than a BAC of 0.08 (Ref. A);
ii. Neglect of Child (Ref. B);
iii. Assault (Ref. C), Absence Without Authority (Ref. D); and
iv. Disobey Lawful Command (Ref. E)
In each situation, these members were permitted to maintain both their position and rank within the Canadian Armed Forces. Furthermore, in many of these situations these members were promoted. Despite the heinous actions of a variety soldiers, the member in question was released on a matter of 1 Criminal Offence, several False Allegations, and actions which he committed while experiencing what is commonly referred to as the DT (Delirious Tremors) which has been proven to cloud judgement of an individual. These actions, the member accepted repercussions for on his own accord and did not fight. The member’s record should show, that since becoming sober he maintained a nearly flawless record with no form of reprimand at all. This is indicative that there is no degree of fairness between members and further that the released member, former Corporal PAONESSA, was released unfairly and unjustly.
5. It should also show that during the Administrative Review Process, the CoC of the member in fact, on many occasions, did all that they could to prevent a return to service PRIOR to the completion of the member’s release. Memorandum was released stating that regardless of the outcome of trial, the member should be released. Meaning, that without a guilty verdict, the CoC has the intent to release the member as appose to rehabilitate the member;
6. The member did request rehabilitation from the unit as well as additional training to improve his behavior and was denied by the unit as they did not “Have a standing arrangement with the requested facility”. The requested facility is located in Brandon Manitoba which would allow the member to continue his daily duties at CFB / ASU Shilo while attending treatment in the evening and still allow access to his son. As such, it was left up to the member to attend meetings with the Base Addictions Councilor and A.A. meetings;
7. The 2 requests by the Member for an A.O. (Assisting Officer) were denied and the member was provided with an A.O. who, by her own omission, was unquailed to assist in these matters, had no experience in dealing with these matters and no training in the A.R. Process.
The second A.O. assigned to the member refused to assist after the member’s release despite Regulations regarding release stating that the A.O. must assist the member during the entire Administrative Review process, with no reprimand when reported. This is indicative that the Canadian Armed Forces did all in their power to ensure that the member failed in his attempt to be returned to active duty;
8. The individuals who filed false police reports were in no way disciplined by the Military Police or their own CoC, despite each allegation being noted as having “Insufficient Evidence to proceed or validate”. This is due fully to the fact that these allegations did in fact not happen;
9. Since release, the member has maintained a high moral ethic as well having no interactions with Civilian or Military Police in the matter of Subject and / or Suspect. The member has in fact assisted Police Agencies in apprehensions of people who have committed offences. It should also be noted that in the original response package provided by the member during the administrative review process, several letters of note from CFB / ASU Shilo staff were submitted that the Canadian Armed Forces would do well to keep former Corporal PAONESSA as an active member;
10. As evident, and as provided, there has been proven a large degree of difference of fairness between myself and other members of the Canadian Armed Forces. The member would like clarification as to why this is the case and politely requests to be reinstated to active service and placed back into his old position as an active Patrolman with the CFB / ASU Shilo Military Police;
11. Additional references included in this memorandum are Chapter 10 of the AA Big Book entitled To the Employer and an essay written by the member indicating how their release violated his human rights; and
12. Submitted for your approval, consideration, and request for clarification, intervention and overturning of the original decision to release the member.
Mr. Francesco (Frank) L. PAONESSA
Former Corporal, Canadian Armed Forces Military Police
CC: Larry MaGuire, Member of Parliament
Unit B – 658 10th Street
Brandon, Manitoba, Canada
CC: Her Royal Majesty, The Queen of England
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