The GrowthOp

Published:July 13, 2021

-Regina Leader Post


It appears the case of a military member who allegedly fed cannabis-infused cupcakes to an artillery unit before a live-fire exercise will not have an easy resolution.

The accused in the case, bombardier Chelsea Cogswell, who was working a mobile canteen the day the alleged incident occurred, is scheduled to be court-martialed next month.

However, her lawyer is arguing that the evidence should be thrown out, according to a copy of a court application obtained by CBC News, as only one cupcake wrapper was recovered from the scene.

“The chain of command and the military police did not preserve all the wrappers for further investigation,” lawyer Ian Kasper reportedly writes in a court document. “The chain of command’s loss of the cupcake wrappers was so shockingly negligent as to constitute an abuse of process.”

Cogswell, a member of the military since 2011, faces 18 charges, eight of which include “administering a noxious thing.”
In May, CTV was first to report the incident that allegedly occurred at CFB Gagetown in New Brunswick in July 2018, while members of the artillery unit were taking part in a three-week-long combat training scenario.

It is alleged that Cogswell prepared the cupcakes ahead of time and did not reveal the ingredients to the troops as she worked the canteen.

“All the members of W Battery who consumed the cupcakes, except one, allegedly experienced symptoms which included dehydration, overheating, fatigue, confusion, dry mouth and paranoia,” court documents state. “Several affected members were allegedly unable to properly execute safe weapons and explosive handling drills. That afternoon, the affected members were treated by a medical technician and the military police were called.”

One of the soldiers, who felt no effects, allegedly collected five wrappers but only one was sent for testing. The wrapper tested positive for trace amounts of THC.

According to CBC, the military police became aware of the other wrappers almost a year and a half later after a request from Kasper.

“The only reasonable conclusion is that they were lost through incompetence,” Kasper reportedly wrote in a court document. “The wrappers are at the heart of the case…and they could afford forensic evidence tending to disprove the offences charged.”

The military responded that it does not know the whereabouts of the remaining wrappers.

“There is no evidence of any attempt to conceal or destroy evidence in this case, nor is there any evidence of bad faith on the part of the Crown,” the prosecutors wrote.

Cogswell has not commented on the case, but her mother told CBC News that she has faced a barrage of online hate and her vehicle was keyed in her driveway.
Canadian Armed Forces members are barred from consuming cannabis eight hours before any known or expected performance of duty.
In May, CAF spokesperson Wendy Wharton told CTV that “this is the first time a member has faced a court martial for allegedly administering cannabis to colleagues without their consent.”

Cogswell’s trial is scheduled to begin on August 3 in Oromocto, New Brunswick.