Retired Canadian Forces member guilty of sex assault and using spy cameras to record coworkers

Colin McGregor found guilty of five out of seven charges he faced

A former Canadian Armed Forces member has been found guilty of five charges relating to sexual assault, voyeurism and disgraceful conduct after facing a court martial at CFB Esquimalt.

In the small courtroom, retired Cpl. Colin McGregor sat quietly Monday morning, while Military Judge Cmdr. Martin Pelletier read his reasons for the guilty verdict on five of the seven charges McGregor faced.

Three women sat in the front row, wiping tears and shaking their heads occasionally while the judgment was read. The women’s names are protected by a publication ban. According to prosecutor Maj. Greg Moorehead, two of the women are named in the charges while the third is a family member who was there for emotional support.

RELATED: Court martial underway for retired CAF member accused of sex crimes in Esquimalt

The offences occurred between Jan. 1, 2011 and Jan. 30, 2017 in Alexandria, Virginia in the United States – where McGregor was living and working as a resource management support clerk with Canadian Defence liaison staff – and in Victoria.

McGregor was convicted of placing spy cameras and audio recording devices in a Canadian Armed Forces colleague’s residence – in order to record her for sexual purposes – as well as the Canadian Embassy in Washington D.C.

According to Pelletier’s reasoning, McGregor was given access to a coworkers home to feed her fish while she was away at Christmas time. A few weeks later, the coworker found a USB drive behind her headboard, along with another recording device on a bookshelf across from her bed.

McGregor also used a digital clock with a camera hidden in it to record women going to the bathroom in his home.

In text messages between McGregor and one of the victims, McGregor stated he was sorry for his actions and had only recorded her secretly to know what she said about him in his absence.

RELATED: Retired Canadian Armed Forces member, accused of hiding cameras in bathrooms, awaits verdict in Esquimalt

The court heard that along with the photos found on the recording devices, there was a video showing the left hand and forearm of the cameraman inappropriately touching an unconscious woman laying on the ground. The video, taken in Esquimalt in 2011, showed a tattoo similar to one on McGregor’s arm. Another video, appearing to be taken from outside her home, showed a victim engaging in intercourse inside.

One of the victims affirmed she was the unconscious woman in the first video, believing it to be taken on a night when she invited McGregor over for drinks and video games. She described a period of blacking out and awoke to find McGregor touching her inappropriately, thus ending their friendship abruptly.

McGregor originally faced a court martial trial in September 2018. All evidence was presented, but McGregor was not presented with a verdict.

Pelletier was unable to move forward with issuing a verdict after a separate court martial case found that it was unconstitutional to deny military members the right to ask for a trial by a full jury. Ordinarily, military members may ask for a trial by jury, but instead of 12 people which civilians face, military personnel face five.

The decision put a wrench in usual proceedings, as it called into question whether the military has the jurisdiction to try serious cases.

As a result, Pelletier adjourned the court to await more progress in the Supreme Court of Canada for a final decision, and clarification as to how to progress.

This, said defence lawyer David Hodson, impeded on McGregor’s right to a trial without delay. A 2016 decision with the Supreme Court of Canada states that a person has the right to be tried within 18 months of their charges.

Hodson presented an application on May 27 to stay the charges against McGregor as a result of an unreasonable delay, but Pelletier dismissed the application and the trial moved forward.

Maj. Greg Moorehead, representing the victims of Colin McGregor, speaks to the media outside the court marital in CFB Esquimalt, after McGregor was found guilty of five charges relating to sexual assault, voueryism and disgraceful conduct. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)

According to Moorehead, McGregor will not spend time in military jail since he has already been released, but whether he goes to a provincial or a federal penitentiary will be decided by civilian corrections services.

One of the charges McGregor was found guilty of — disgraceful conduct — falls under the National Defence Act, which, according to Moorehead, captures behaviors that are breaches of personal discipline. “Personal discipline is critical to the military … one must demonstrate a habit of obedience to orders and must do as they’re told in critical times,” says Moorehead, adding the charge can carry a sentence of up to five years imprisonment.

“Sexual assault is very personal and extremely corrosive,” he says. “It degrades cohesion, military effectiveness and morale which is unique to the military and is something that must be prosecuted.”

Court resumes at 1 p.m. on Tuesday with victim impact statements. Sentencing is expected by the end of the week. According to Moorehead, there is provision for the reduction of rank that will be added to jail time.

With files from Nicole Crescenzi



kendra.crighton@blackpress.ca

Follow us on Instagram
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Langford pitches Westhills as Canadian Premier League soccer hub

Langford could host all eight teams for August matches

Point-guard lobs no-look, three-pointer for Oak Bay High video

Trick-shot only took three times, says Oak Bay teen

Person finds bag of drugs while out for walk in Langford

Police ask residents, drivers to check surveillance footage

Cancelled cruise ships costs Victoria more than $130 million

Transport Canada bans ships until end of October in response to COVID-19

Saanich residents sound alarm after second owl dies of rat poison

Great Horned Owl found in Kings Park killed by three rodenticides

VIDEO: Victoria dental staff dance to *NSYNC to promote reopening

Urban Smiles staff ‘want you back’ after closure in response to pandemic

Feds looking at ways to reunite families amid COVID-19 border restrictions with U.S.

Some families with members of dual-citizenship have become separated due to the pandemic

B.C. aquaculture farm’s employees sweat it out to raise funds for food banks

For every five minutes of exercise recorded, Cermaq Canada is donating a dollar to local food banks in communities they operate

Condition in kids with possible COVID-19 link being studied in Canada

This month, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued an alert to doctors about MIS-C

‘I knew what he wanted’: Kootenay man spends hours in tree as black bear patrols below

Francis Levasseur is no stranger to the outdoors, but a recent run-in with a bear caused quite a scare

Stepdad able to walk bride down the aisle days before he passes away

Ceremony held amidst pandemic in order to fulfill bride’s wish to have stepdad give her away

POLL: Do you agree with the provincial government’s decision to increase the minimum wage?

B.C.’s lowest-paid workers will be getting a few more dollars to try… Continue reading

Trudeau acknowledges racial unrest in U.S.; ‘We also have work to do in Canada’

‘Anti-black racism, racism, is real; it’s in the United States, but it’s also in Canada,’ Trudeau says

Large cruise ships barred from Canadian waters until end of October: Garneau

Last year 140 cruise ships brought more than two million visitors to Canadian ports

Most Read