The Canadian military threatened the grieving parents of a soldier who committed suicide with legal sanctions if they did not turn over documents they had collected in their attempts to get to the bottom of their daughter’s death.
Both Rick and Ellen Rogers received a summons in July 2013 to testify at the military board of inquiry into the death of their daughter, Lt. Shawna Rogers, who had been stationed at CFB Edmonton.
The summons came after Rogers’ parents told the Canadian Forces they did not want to participate and requested that board of inquiry officials stop phoning them at their home in Sharon, Ont.
The summons required the couple to turn over all documents regarding their 27-year-old daughter’s medical health, as well as any electronic records documenting her correspondence and communication, particularly her cellphone records. The military board of inquiry (BOI) also demanded the couple turn over all documents outlining the formal complaints or grievances made by Lt. Rogers against the military.
The punishment for not complying is “less than two years” in jail, according to the National Defence Act.
The military only backed off when the couple’s Ottawa lawyer, Michel Drapeau, filed a court challenge arguing against the summons.
“The board of inquiry is a kangaroo court and we didn’t want any part of it,” Rick Rogers, a retired plumber, told the Citizen. “There’s no bigger hell than losing your daughter. We were grieving and they were kicking us while we were down.”