Chief military judge's court martial hears about friendship with presiding judge

The court martial of Canada's chief military judge kicked off this week with testimony about Colonel Mario Dutil's close professional and ``familial'' relationship with the judge presiding over his trial, Dutil's own deputy.

The testimony delivered on the first day of Dutil's court martial, in which he is facing eight charges, underscored the unprecedented nature of the case, and why the court martial is considered a test of the military justice system.

It came as Dutil's lawyer sought to have Lieutenant-Colonel Vincent-Louis d'Auteuil recuse himself from the trial, arguing the deputy chief military judge is too close to both his client and many of the witnesses who will be called to testify.

Canada's top military judge since 2006, Dutil was charged last year over allegations he had a consensual but inappropriate relationship with a subordinate.

He is also accused of knowingly signing a travel claim for 927 dollars and 60 cents containing false information.