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News - All - 16 Feb 2018

News Item 74 of 4398 

Miscellaneous: 16 Feb 2018
Military to review alcohol policy for flights after Tiger Williams sex assault charge

Former Toronto Maple Leaf Dave "Tiger" Williams salutes the crowd on military honour night before a game in Toronto on March 16, 2013. Claus Andersen/Getty Images

Passengers on the military flight on which a former NHL hockey player allegedly assaulted a crew member were allowed to bring their own alcohol to drink, resulting in a number of passengers becoming extremely intoxicated, according to sources with knowledge of the incident.

The Dec. 2 flight to Latvia transported members of a “Team Canada” tour. These visits, intended to boost the morale of Canadian troops stationed overseas, are usually made up of entertainers, artists, athletes, and media personalities.

There were only around 20 individuals plus crew aboard the Royal Canadian Air Force C-150 Polaris aircraft, though it can hold 194 passengers. Sources with knowledge of the flight describe wide-spread alcohol consumption on the aircraft.

One passenger boarded with a 40-ounce bottle of alcohol. Two individuals urinated themselves, forcing flight attendants to remove wet seat cushions and place them in black plastic bags, setting them aside for cleaning once the aircraft returned to 8 Wing in Trenton, Ont.

The Department of National Defence confirmed Thursday that in the aftermath of the incidents it is reviewing its alcohol policy for such VIP flights.

“Much like passengers on civilian aircraft, participants on these trips are responsible for knowing their own limits, while air crew members are professionally trained to recognize signs of intoxication,” said Department of National Defence spokesman Dan Le Bouthillier. “We are nonetheless reviewing our practices in order to avoid any such recurrence.”

Last week the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service charged Dave “Tiger” Williams, a passenger on the flight, with sexual assault as well as assault, according to military police. The alleged victim was a female flight attendant on the RCAF aircraft.

The charges against Williams have not been tested in court, and Postmedia has not been able to reach Williams or his representatives for comment.

Vice-Chief of Defence Staff Lt.-Gen. Alain Parent was also on the flight, but according to military sources was not aware of the alleged incident. DND has declined to name the other individuals who were on the flight, and would not comment Thursday on the alleged incidents of passenger urination, as it is part of the ongoing police investigation.

Le Bouthillier said the subject of the alleged assault was flown home early on a commercial flight so as “to distance” the individual from the accused. “The victim was subsequently offered — and accepted — the option to return home on a civilian flight accompanied by others,” he said. “This was done so that we could distance the victim from the accused and to ensure they can receive the requisite support, as applicable.”

In all, four flight attendants were flown home to Canada on a commercial aircraft at a cost of $6,500 for each ticket.

Le Bouthillier said Williams “was allowed to continue on with the rest of the group to ensure sufficient distance from the victim, noting as well that he was not charged at the time and it was a fluid situation.”

After arriving in Latvia, Williams played in a morale-boosting hockey game which was promoted on social media by the Canadian Embassy in Latvia. He later flew back to Canada on a military flight.

Le Bouthillier said the Canadian Forces took care of the alleged victim “with respect and dignity, while dealing with the accused through a thorough and expedient police investigation.”

“In all cases, the subject of charges is presumed innocent until proven guilty,” military police added in a news release. “The matter is now proceeding in accordance with the civilian justice system and will be brought forward by the Crown Attorney in Ottawa at a date still to be determined.”

Military police have jurisdiction over civilian personnel on Canadian Forces bases and deployments.

Williams, 64, was an NHL enforcer who played for teams including the Toronto Maple Leafs, Vancouver Canucks, Detroit Red Wings and Los Angeles Kings. He retired in 1988.

Usually comprised of about 20 people, the Team Canada trips began in 2006 and happen approximately twice a year. They are organized by the DND/CAF Strategic Outreach Team, which reports to the office of the chief of the defence staff.

• Email: dpugliese@postmedia.com | Twitter:

David Pugliese, Ottawa Citizen/Getty Images /AA
 

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