Soldiers testify before court martial about feeling good in live-fire training exercise

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Bomber Lyann Lechman had never tried cannabis in his life.

So when she started feeling weird on July 21, 2018, she never considered herself high.

“I experienced side effects, which I didn’t know were side effects of THC because I had never had THC before,” Lechman said on day two of Bombardier’s court martial. Chelsea Cogswell.

Cogswell, who grew up in Oromocto, faces eight counts of administering a noxious substance to eight soldiers at 5th Canadian Division Support Base Gagetown without their consent.

She is also accused of having behaved unbecoming and of having committed an act prejudicial to good order and discipline.

Offered as a “treat”

Lechman said Thursday she bought items from the canteen Cogswell was responsible for on July 21, 2018, and said Cogswell told her to help herself to the cupcakes – “it was a treat she baked. for the rifle line “.

Within half an hour, she began to feel lazy and nauseous, lost track of time, and was unable to complete tasks as usual.

“I had the overwhelming feeling that something was wrong.”

She said she was slow to perform normal tasks and loaded a round “awkwardly”.

Lechman said she also fell from an ammo box and was quickly told to lie down in the shade.

Witnessing remotely via video, bomber Nathan Penner said he ate about a quarter of a cupcake left by another soldier.

He said he quickly started to feel the effects and found it difficult to concentrate on his tasks. He expressed concern about the group’s ability to perform its tasks.

“With all the detachment feeling sick, there wasn’t a lot of confidence,” Penner said of their ability to carry on.

He said they tried to prepare the weapon for firing, but couldn’t finish until they got out of the field.

Gunners testified about the difficulties they encountered during an artillery exercise at CFB Gagetown after eating what they now believe to be cannabis cupcakes. (Ed Hunter / CBC)

Bomber Jordan Slade also ate a cupcake. He said he started to feel lethargic and lethargic, but thought it could be heat related as he had never had heat exhaustion before.

He said he thought the cupcakes were the culprit “once everyone has spoken and established the only common denominator was the cupcakes”.

The soldier in command told a superior that they were all not feeling well and that it was not safe to continue.

Slade said the soldiers were unable to perform “simple enough tasks.”

Master Bomber William Long testified that when he asked Cogswell if there was anything in the cupcakes that he should be aware of, she simply raised both hands in a gesture like “I don’t know. “.

As a recovering alcoholic who also experimented with drugs, Long said he was trying to protect himself, but ultimately said he had to trust his comrade in arms. So he ate the cupcake, suspected there was marijuana in it, and threw the wrapper on the floor.

In about 15 minutes, he said, he started to feel a “body buzz” and things took on a “comic book look.”

He said he knew he was high because he used drugs before he got sober more than eight years earlier. He said he went on and tried to prepare the gun, but the process became “a comedy of errors.”

I trusted another soldier

Long said it was inconceivable to him at the time that someone would drug their comrades during a live-fire training exercise.

“In the end, I made the choice to trust my comrade in arms,” he said. “Obviously that was not the right choice.”

Sixteen witnesses are expected to testify at the court martial. Two weeks have been set aside.

On the first day of the trial, three soldiers who ate the cupcakes said they began to experience symptoms of fatigue, drunkenness, disorientation and confusion, all during a live-fire training exercise.


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