Military drops Whelan sexual misconduct charge as court martial was about to begin

Military drops charges

The military has dropped a charge related to alleged sexual misconduct against Lt.-Gen. Steve Whelan, who was removed from his job as head of military personnel in 2021 after the allegations were made.

Whelan was set to face a court martial this morning on two charges of conduct to the prejudice of good order and discipline.

One of those charges was related to what the military called an inappropriate relationship with a subordinate.

The military prosecution says that charge has been withdrawn.

Whelan has pleaded not guilty to a second charge, an allegation that he inappropriately changed a performance evaluation report for Warrant Officer Dana Mills in 2011.

The prosecution says the pair had a personal relationship that included "flirtatious email exchanges," and that their relationship changed while they were deployed together.

In an opening statement, the prosecution told the court martial that Mills complained her evaluation report was scored too low after she rejected an invitation to dinner in Whelan's personal quarters.

Prosecutors allege that her evaluation report was then changed to "outstanding" because Whelan was concerned that their relationship would become public.

Defence lawyer Phillip Millar said in his opening statement that word of the investigation was leaked to the media before it was complete and effectively ruined his client's career.

"Lt.-Gen. Whelan was the victim of politics," he said. "The damage here is done."

Millar said that Whelan and Mills were friends when they deployed together, and that she asked him "constantly for favours" and begged him for attention.

"(She) manipulated and charmed him to get what she wanted," Millar said.

He also said the defence would call a witness who was a senior officer on the same deployment and who had a sexual relationship with Mills.

Millar told the court that this witness was not interviewed by military police, which he alleged amounts to misconduct.

He also said Whelan plans to take the stand to explain what happened with the performance evaluation report in question.

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