A Canadian Forces soldier who took his own life in 2008 "PingPonged" between a civilian medical system that didn't want to deal with him and a military system that didn't know what to do with him, his grieving stepfather told an inquiry Wednesday.
The often emotional, heart-rending testimony from Shaun Fynes of Victoria about the troubled last years and death of Cpl. Stuart Langridge was at once an ardent defence of the young man's character and an angry indictment of the Canadian military.
"Stuart didn't fall between the cracks, he was stuffed between the cracks," Fynes told the Military Police Complaints Commission, which is holding a hearing into allegations that the investigation into Langridge's suicide was biased.
"He ricocheted through the system and PingPonged between provincial hospitals that didn't want anything to do with him, and the medical unit that didn't know what to do with him," Fynes testified.
"They couldn't figure out who was co-ordinating his care and who was responsible for his care.
Stuart didn't stand a chance. He was killed by the military."
The apparent inability to keep things straight carried on following the soldier's suicide, said Fynes, who described for the commission how his son's death certificate was rife with mistakes. Langridge's ex-girlfriend was named as next-of-kin, put in charge of the funeral and provided benefits even though their relationship had ended two months before.
"Our son should not be dead," he said. "No one has been accountable for that.
No one has explained that and there's been an incredibly serious attempt to blame the victim."
The commission's inquiry, which began last spring and resumed Wednesday after a summer hiatus, had previously heard testimony about Langridge's spiral into a haze of alcohol and drugs following tours in Bosnia and Afghanistan.
Fynes acknowledged the young soldier's fight with alcohol, but testified that it was "self-medication" for depression and post-traumatic stress.
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