BARRIE, ONT. — A reserve cadet instructor based at CFB Borden faces the prospect of life in a military prison in Edmonton for what he allegedly said at an anti-COVID-19 rally.
Officer Cadet Ladislas Kenderesi faces charges under the National Defence Act of endeavouring to persuade another person to join in a mutiny and for behaving in a scandalous manner unbecoming of an officer.
The charges stem from a speech at a Toronto rally on Dec. 5, 2020. In a clip of the event posted to YouTube, a man in uniform introduced as Kenderesi shared a message about “poison” vaccines with service members.
“I’m asking military right now who are serving: truck drivers, medical, engineers, whatever you are – do not take this unlawful order in distribution of this vaccine,” the speaker said. “I might be in a lot of shit for doing this, but I don’t care anymore.”
Rory Fowler, a retired Lieutenant Colonel and lawyer, says the clip stunned military members past and present.
“There was near-universal condemnation and bewilderment at the things that he was saying and how he was portraying himself,” Fowler says.
“It’s the sort of conduct that one does not expect from an officer of the Canadian Forces.”
National Defence says Kenderesi’s worked with cadets or junior Canadian rangers but was not active with a squadron at the time and was removed from duties when the investigation launched.
Kenderesi will be subject to a court-martial. Fowler doesn’t expect the process to get rolling until late 2021 or early 2022.
The charge of mutiny came as a surprise to Fowler and Christian Leuprecht, a professor at the Royal Military College of Canada and Queen’s University.
Fowler cannot recall the charge being imposed since the 1950s.
Leuprecht explains that calling upon service members to blow off orders to help administer vaccines could create a mess. “It calls both the legitimacy and the integrity of the organization and the organization functions into question, hence the charge of mutiny.”
The maximum penalty for mutiny is life in a military prison, but Fowler says Kenderesi would be more likely to face a fine.
Fowler says he might have been out of reach of the military justice system had the man making them not been in uniform.