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

  • Budget 2019: Liberals add $4.5B for Indigenous services as reconciliation effort continues

    Canada News CBC News
    The federal Liberal government plans to spend $4.5 billion over the next five years to try to narrow the socio-economic gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people — part of a plan to keep reconciliation at the forefront of this fall's campaign narrative. Source
  • Canadian identified as alleged informant in U.S. college admissions scandal

    Canada News CTV News
    MONTREAL -- Morrie Tobin, the Montreal native named in reports as the central figure who exposed an alleged college admissions scam in the United States, was described Tuesday by those who knew him as someone who stood out for his athleticism and drive. Source
  • Tunisian billionaire who fled Canada ahead of 2016 deportation arrested in France

    World News CBC News
    An elusive Tunisian billionaire who disappeared from Canada as he was set to be deported to his homeland in 2016 has resurfaced and is under arrest in France. Belhassen Trabelsi fell off the radar of Canadian authorities three years ago as he was to be returned to Tunisia to face justice. Source
  • Canadian tennis teen Bianca Andreescu is waking up to a new world

    Canada News CBC News
    When you aren't supposed to win, it's hard to know what to do when it happens. Take 18-year-old Bianca Andreescu and her historic win this past weekend at Indian Wells. She is the first wild card to ever capture the event, the most prestigious tournament ever won by a Canadian singles player. Source
  • Amber Alert issued for missing 5-year-old girl in the Toronto-area

    Canada News CTV News
    Police in the Greater Toronto Area have issued an Amber Alert for a missing five-year-old girl who they believe was abducted by her father. York region police officers were called to Armadale Public School in Markham, Ont. Source
  • Amber Alert cancelled after missing girl, 5, found safe in Toronto area

    Canada News CTV News
    Police in the Greater Toronto Area say a five-year-old girl who was the subject of an Amber Alert has been found safe. Police say the girl’s father took her from her classroom at Armadale Public School in Markham, Ont. Source
  • Rare protests erupt against Hamas's 12-year rule over Gaza

    World News CBC News
    Hamas is facing the biggest demonstrations yet against its 12-year rule of the Gaza Strip, with hundreds of Palestinians taking to the streets in recent days to protest the dire living conditions in the blockaded territory. Source
  • New $1B border strategy will get tough on irregular asylum seekers

    Canada News CTV News
    OTTAWA - The Liberal government is signalling its intent to stem the flow of asylum seekers crossing into Canada at unofficial entry points with a new border-enforcement strategy aimed at detecting, intercepting and removing irregular migrants. Source
  • Liberals offer 'modest' help for first-time homebuyers

    Canada News CTV News
    OTTAWA -- On the eve of a federal election this fall, the Liberal government is looking to help more Canadians buy their first homes by picking up a portion of their mortgage costs and increasing the amount they can borrow from their retirement savings for a down payment. Source
  • Quick-thinking students save school bus after driver collapses

    Canada News CBC News
    A group of students from St. Mary Catholic Secondary School are being heralded as heroes for safely bringing their school bus to a stop and offering first aid after their driver collapsed from a medical emergency. Source