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

  • Plane caught in power lines after crash in U.S., crews work to rescue 2 occupants

    World News CTV News
    GAITHERSBURG, Md. - A small plane carrying two people got stuck in live power lines Sunday evening in Maryland, causing widespread power outages in the surrounding county as officials worked to extricate the aircraft and its occupants. Source
  • NFL free agent Odell Beckham Jr. removed from Miami flight by police

    World News CBC News
    NFL free agent Odell Beckham Jr. was removed by police from an aircraft before takeoff at Miami International Airport after officials said he failed to respond to requests to buckle his seatbelt and appeared to be unconscious, police and airline officials said Sunday. Source
  • Why anti-poverty researchers bristle at holiday appeals for food bank donations

    Canada News CTV News
    St. John's - Campaigns for food bank donations are a staple of the holiday season, but some Canadian food insecurity researchers say the appeals can be tough to swallow. Josh Smee, the executive director of the Newfoundland and Labrador-based non-profit Food First N.L. Source
  • B.C. announces plan to license more internationally trained doctors

    Canada News CBC News
    British Columbia announced several new measures to bring more doctors to the province, amid an ongoing shortage of physicians and strained emergency departments. Premier David Eby says the province is tripling the number of seats in the Practice Ready Assessment program, going from 32 spots to 96 by March 2024. Source
  • B.C. to license more internationally trained doctors to combat physician shortage

    Canada News CBC News
    British Columbia announced several new measures to bring more doctors to the province, amid an ongoing shortage of physicians and strained emergency departments. Premier David Eby says the province is tripling the number of seats in the Practice Ready Assessment program, going from 32 spots to 96 by March 2024. Source
  • Infant among 7 dead in Italy landslide

    World News CBC News
    Search teams have recovered seven dead, including a three-week-old infant and a pair of young siblings, buried in mud and debris that hurtled down a mountainside and through a densely populated port city on the resort island of Ischia, officials said Sunday. Source
  • Mexico's Lopez Obrador leads massive pro-government march

    World News CTV News
    MEXICO CITY - Hundreds of thousands of people marched in Mexico's capital Sunday in a show of support for President Manuel Lopez Obrador, who before assuming the presidency had led some of the country's biggest protests. Source
  • Hey hey, there's some monkeys! Thai festival honours fuzzy residents

    World News CBC News
    A meal fit for monkeys was served on Sunday at the annual Monkey Feast Festival in central Thailand. Amid the morning traffic, rows of monkey statues holding trays were lined up outside the compound of the Ancient Three Pagodas, while volunteers prepared food across the road for real monkeys — the symbol of Lopburi province, around 150 kilometres north of Bangkok. Source
  • Walmart shooting claims teen, young woman, father, mother

    World News CTV News
    A 16-year-old helping his family. A custodian and father of two. A mother with wedding plans. A happy-go-lucky guy. A longtime employee. That's how friends and family described some of the six people killed at a Walmart in Chesapeake, Virginia, when a manager opened fire with a handgun before an employee meeting Tuesday night. Source
  • Iraqi PM: Probe recovers part of $2.5B embezzled from taxes

    World News CTV News
    Auger-Aliassime, Shapovalov give Canada 1st Davis Cup title Canada won its first Davis Cup title on Sunday, beating Australia behind victories from Denis Shapovalov and Felix Auger-Aliassime. Source