Military police hearing into suicide death of Afghanistan vet begins

Victoria couple head to Ottawa hoping for changes in name of son

A public interest hearing began Tuesday (March 27) in Ottawa to determine whether military police investigations following the suicide death of a Canadian solider were inadequate and biased.

Sheila and Shaun Fynes of Victoria lodged an extensive complaint with the Military Police Complaints Commission on Jan. 18, 2011, against 13 investigators and officials within the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service, a branch of the military police.

The parents of Cpl. Stuart Langridge, who took his own life, after multiple suicide attempts, on March 15, 2008 at CFB Edmonton, charge that the goal of the investigations into their son’s death was to clear military personnel of failing to prevent his death.

Langridge, who served tours of duty in Bosnia and Afghanistan, had been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and depression.

“We just felt the National Investigation Service was very protective of the uniform, of the military,” Sheila Fynes said last weekend before leaving to attend the hearing.

She and her husband were told the outcomes of the investigations, but they were not satisfied with the results.

“So now this is basically a search for the truth,” she said.

In their complaint, the Fynes also say investigators failed to disclose that their son had left a suicide note, and withheld information from them. The couple are scheduled to testify as witnesses during the hearing, which is expected to take 10 to 12 weeks.

In his announcement of the hearing schedule last week, complaints commission chair Glenn Stannard said the proceedings would be “complex, lengthy and demanding,” and would “involve voluminous evidence.”

The commission’s job is to investigate complaints about military police conduct, and can make recommendations for changes to the military police and defence leaders.

The hearing will continue next Tuesday (April 3) through April 26, and then resume on May 7.

emccracken@vicnews.com