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UPDATE: Another former P.E.I. army cadet says sexual comment had lasting effect

Capt. Todd Bannister heads into court Wednesday afternoon for the third day of his court martial trial. Bannister, a former army cadet commanding officer, faces three charges of behaving in a disgraceful manner and three charges of conduct to the prejudice of good order and discipline.  ©THE GUARDIAN
Capt. Todd Bannister heads into court Wednesday afternoon for the third day of his court martial trial. Bannister, a former army cadet commanding officer, faces three charges of behaving in a disgraceful manner and three charges of conduct to the prejudice of good order and discipline. - Jim Day

CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. - A former army cadet testified Wednesday that a sexual comment made by Capt. Todd Bannister has had a lasting negative impact.

“I’m still quite upset about it…I’m confused,’’ Josie Gallant, 20, of Charlottetown told a military court.

“I believe that was a very wrong comment.’’

However, Gallant, who had a long career as a cadet, testified she only became aware of the comment after the fact and that she does not recall the alleged incident.

RELATED: Witness at P.E.I. court martial says she was 'scared, nervous' of former cadet commander

Gallant was at Queen Charlotte Armouries on June 19 2015 posing for photos in her prom dress with Bannister and other cadets.

Bannister, who was commanding officer of the 148 Charlottetown Royal Canadian Army Cadet Corps at the time, is charged with behaving in a disgraceful manner and conduct to the prejudice of good order and discipline for allegedly stating “there’s a lot of ‘boobage’ around here’’ or words to that effect.

Gallant told the court that she does not recall hearing the comment directly.

“The nature of the comment I know was sexual…because multiple people came forward and said it was sexual,’’ she testified.

Gallant told the court she was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress syndrome a few months ago. She says the PTSD is linked to the incident with Bannister.

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Bannister’s lawyer Maj. J.L.P.L. Boutin questioned Gallant on the legitimacy of the claim, noting a letter from her therapist Bill Campbell, who diagnosed her with PTSD, states Gallant was “gravely affected’’ in feeling rejected and criticized by cadets and their families during Gallant’s time as a cadet, which was unrelated to the Bannister incident.

Gallant said she had been seeing the therapist for years before the incident with Bannister.

Gallant also testified that she had a good, professional relationship with Bannister before the incident.

“He was a positive role model,’’ she told the court.

“If I needed anything he was there to help me out.’’

Boutin plans to continue his cross-examination of Josie Gallant Thursday. Prosecution is expected to then call Gallant’s mother to the stand.

Bannister has pleaded not guilty to all of the six charges that stem from this incident and two others when he was serving as commanding officer.

Another former cadet testified Monday that Bannister asked her to have sexual intercourse with him on his desk.

In April 2016, following preliminary review of allegations, Bannister was placed on suspension, relieved of his duties as commanding officer and ordered not to attend cadet activities.

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