OTTAWA — Richard Colvin's lawyer says there was a "shoot the messenger" mentality at Canada's overseas command when it came to the diplomat's persistent warnings of possible torture in Afghan jails.
Owen Rees says military officers and civilian defence staff just didn't want to hear it and pointed to a toughly worded memo which recommended the whistleblower be removed from his post as No. 2 at the embassy in Kabul.
Rees today questioned the senior policy adviser who managed prisoner issues at Canadian Expeditionary Force Command.
At a Military Police Complaints Commission hearing, he grilled Gabrielle Duschner on a memo prepared for her by a junior staff member.
It painted Colvin as troublesome because of his routine challenges of the prisoner policy and his criticism of military tactics.
It accused Colvin of "freelancing" in his dealings with senior Afghan officials and warned that the diplomat could become a "liability" to the federal government if he persisted.
Rees noted that all of Colvin's reports were either co-authored with another diplomat -- or approved by the ambassador in Kabul.
He said the military didn't like hearing frank advice from civilians.
The commission is examining how Afghan detainees were treated.