Mike Duffy trial verdict to be delivered on April 21

OTTAWA -- Arguments in the landmark and lengthy trial of Sen. Mike Duffy concluded Tuesday with the justice hearing the case saying the earliest he'll deliver his verdict is April 21.

See Full Article

  • Scroll down or click here to replay our courtroom live blog

?Justice Charles Vaillancourt must now decide whether the former Conservative is guilty or not on 31 counts of fraud, breach of trust and bribery for the way he handled his expenses while serving in the Senate.

The decision will likely have repercussions for at least two other senators awaiting trial on similar accusations. It may also mean that charges could be laid against still others following exhaustive audits into Senate expenses.

But the Ottawa political climate and culture that led to the 10-month Duffy trial have changed with the arrival of a new government and public interest in the issue has all but evaporated -- the final two days of arguments were held in a different, smaller, courtroom with only a few ordinary spectators on hand.

"The man has been through a tremendous ordeal, he has been humiliated and ridiculed and that will continue to go on. Few have ever been in his position," defence lawyer Donald Bayne said in his final address to the court on Tuesday.

"Crown took a great deal of time to say you can't believe everything he says. You don't have to acquit him on this evidence . . . the evidence as a whole proves that the Crown has not made out this case beyond a reasonable doubt."

It's been eight years since Duffy was appointed a Conservative senator for P.E.I.. The Senate is still grappling with the fallout from the ethics scandal that engulfed it after questions raised about his expenses eventually led to the criminal charges against him.

Duffy has pleaded not guilty to all counts.

The first 28 charges relate to living, travel and office expense claims he filed in his first four years in Senate, while he was criss-crossing the country as one of his party's star fundraisers.

Those trips, the living expenses he charged for the Ottawa-area home he's had for decades and the money from his Senate budget that he spent on services the Crown alleges would never have been approved by the Senate, are at the heart of these charges.

The Crown, in its closing arguments, argued that one $65,000 contract amounted to a "slush fund," but Bayne said it was in keeping with the Senate's allowance for a research budget. He said senators had full discretion over how to spend that money.

"You don't set up a criminal slush fund so you can get legitimate Senate work done," Bayne said.

The final three counts relate to a $90,000 payment Duffy accepted from Harper's former chief of staff in order to repay his questioned expenses. The Crown contends the cheque amounted to bribery because it was a deal brokered by Duffy, who exerted pressure on the Prime Minister's Office, which wanted the scandal to go away.

Duffy, the Crown argued this week, was only ever acting in his own best interests. The defence argues it was the opposite -- that for political reasons the powerful PMO railroaded Duffy into admitting to wrongdoing when he had done nothing improper.

"Look at where he is sitting now," Bayne said, gesturing to Duffy in the front row of the small Ottawa courtroom, his wife by his side.

"... Does anyone think he got a benefit?"

Reading in an app? Click here for a better user experience



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • In Comey memos, Trump talks of jailed journalists, 'hookers'

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- In a series of startlingly candid conversations, U.S. President Donald Trump told former FBI Director James Comey that he had serious concerns about the judgment of a top adviser, asked about the possibility of jailing journalists and described a boast from Vladimir Putin about Russian prostitutes, according to Comey's notes of the talks obtained by The Associated Press on Thursday night. Source
  • Italian city refuses to register baby born to lesbians

    World News CTV News
    MILAN -- A councilwoman in the Italian city of Turin says authorities have refused to register her newborn, conceived abroad by artificial insemination, due to Italian laws that make fertility treatments available only to heterosexual couples. Source
  • Basque separatist group ETA apologizes to victims ahead of dissolution

    World News CBC News
    The Basque militant group ETA on Friday apologized for the harm caused to victims and their relatives during its half-century-long violent campaign to create an independent state in northern Spain and southwest France. The apology comes as the group is expected to announce its final dissolution early next month, just over a year after it ended its armed separatist campaign by surrendering guns and explosives. Source
  • Arsene Wenger ends 22-year run at Arsenal

    World News CBC News
    Arsene Wenger is leaving Arsenal after 22 seasons in charge against the backdrop of growing disillusionment from fans as the team struggles to compete for the Premier League title. The 68-year-old Frenchman said Friday he will leave the London club at the end of the season, ending the tenure of English soccer's longest-serving manager. Source
  • Who's next? Leaders to discuss next Commonwealth head

    World News CTV News
    LONDON -- Commonwealth leaders are meeting at Windsor Castle, where they are set to discuss whether Prince Charles should succeed his mother Queen Elizabeth II as head of the 53-nation alliance. The queen has headed the association of Britain and its former colonies throughout her 66-year reign, but the position is not hereditary. Source
  • Minnesota woman suspected of killing 2 captured in Texas

    World News CTV News
    SOUTH PADRE ISLAND, Texas -- A woman who investigators believe killed her husband in Minnesota then fled to Florida where she used the same gun to slay her doppelganger with the intention of assuming her identity has been captured at a South Texas resort. Source
  • Butcher to return to stand in murder trial of Halifax yoga instructor

    Canada News CTV News
    HALIFAX - Nicholas Butcher is expected to return to the stand today after describing affectionate messages between himself and the woman he's accused of killing. Butcher is charged with second-degree murder in the death of Montreal-born yoga instructor, Kristin Johnston, whose body was found on a blood-soaked bed inside her Halifax-area home on March 26, 2016. Source
  • 50 members of migrant caravan that prompted threats from Trump reach U.S. border

    World News CBC News
    A group of 50 Central American migrants who set out from southern Mexico in late March have reached the U.S. border, having endured the long journey despite threats by U.S. President Donald Trump to secure the border with National Guard personnel. Source
  • From seafood to smokables: Newfoundland fish plant to be converted to cannabis

    Canada News CBC News
    Businessman Daniel Porter has big plans for pot in Port Union.(Alyson Samson/CBC) Cannabis could be coming to the rescue of a Newfoundland fishing community that's been without an economic centre since Hurricane Igor laid waste to the area in 2010. Source
  • Much left to fight for beyond pot legalization, activists say as they mark 4/20

    Canada News CTV News
    TORONTO - Cannabis activists say although this year's 4-20 celebrations across the country will likely be the last before recreational pot use becomes legal, there's still a lot to fight for. The federal government has committed to making marijuana legal by the summer, but the task of regulating the sale and consumption of the drug has been handed down to the provinces and territories. Source