Assault charges dropped against former MP Julian Fantino

TORONTO -- The Crown has dropped privately laid assault charges against former federal cabinet minister Julian Fantino in an alleged incident 42 years ago.

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Crown Attorney John McInnes told court there was no reasonable prospect for conviction due primarily to inconsistencies in the accuser's testimony and lack of witnesses.

Fantino's lawyer, Mark Sandler, called the accusations patently false and said it was no coincidence the allegations against the Conservative MP were levelled just before the Oct. 19 federal election.

The allegations of assault with a weapon and assault causing bodily harm were made by John Bonnici and stemmed from when Fantino was a Toronto police officer. None of Bonnici's allegations were proven in court.

Fantino, the onetime veterans affairs minister, lost his bid for re-election to Liberal Francesco Sorbara in the riding of Vaughan-Woodbridge. He was not present at Wednesday's hearing.

Police generally lay criminal charges, but anyone who has reasonable grounds to believe someone has committed an offence can go to a justice of the peace or provincial court judge, who determine if a summons or warrant should be issued to compel an accused person to come to court to answer the charge.

The charges against Fantino were approved by a justice of the peace in July after a closed hearing.



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