Canada’s top special forces soldier has been charged after accidentally firing his rifle as he prepared to visit the frontlines in northern Iraq.

Maj.-Gen. Mike Rouleau, a special forces combat veteran and head of the Canadian Special Operations Forces Command, will face a court-martial for a “negligent discharge” from his firearm last year, the Canadian military said.

Rouleau immediately reported the Dec. 21 incident to Gen. Jon Vance, chief of the defence staff,  and was put under a lengthy investigation.

The special forces commander was not available for interview Wednesday, but issued a statement to Postmedia.

As a soldier and as a special operations assaulter, the only acceptable standard of care with a weapon is error-free

“While preparing to go to a forward trench position as I was arranging my equipment, I negligently discharged one bullet into a safe area while loading my assault rifle,” he explained.

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“As a soldier and as a special operations assaulter, the only acceptable standard of care with a weapon is error-free.”

While most negligent discharges are dealt with through a summary trial process, because of Rouleau’s senior rank the charge has to be sent to a court-martial. He has been charged under Section 129 of the National Defence Act of neglect to the prejudice of good order and discipline.

No date has yet been set for his court-martial.

Rouleau recently sent a message to the 2,000 members of his command explaining the incident.

Read More: National Post

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