He's a law professor. He's chief counsel of the PMO and the prime minister's personal legal adviser. He's just negotiated an under-the-table cash deal with outside counsel on behalf of the chief of staff of the PMO. When that business is finished, Benjamin Perrin barely has time to clean out his desk before hightailing it back to the west coast. Before he's out the door he makes sure to delete all his e-mails pertaining to the quiet cash deal.
Later, when he's confronted over the Duffy-Wright-Harper scandal, Perrin claims to have had nothing to do with it. (Hint, that's a lie)
For the longest time the PMO denies it has any trace of e-mails written by its former legal counsel dealing with the Wright-Duffy-Harper scandal. Nothing to see here, move along. Then, it appears, the RCMP, having read plenty of Ben's e-mails turned over by Nigel Wright and Mike Duffy, grabs a handful of PMO crotch, threatens to do something excruciatingly unmentionable (like toss the office and grab the hard drives or read Magna Carta repeatedly until their ears bled) and - voila - the "lost" e-mails are found.
Except they weren't ever really lost. Ben binned'em - or so he thought. He deleted his e-mails relating to the Wright-Duffy-Harper under-the-table cash deal. Exactly when isn't clear but may be problematic in its own right for the learned Perrin. Did he delete them when they were sent or within a day or two afterward or did he delete them in the course of his mandated, pre-departure purge? Either way, the rules are pretty clear about what may and may not be deleted and Ben ran afoul of those rules.
Chances are Ben left a lot of e-mails. They would be essential for his successor to, well, succeed him. It's called continuity. How many did he choose to retain versus how many did he delete?
It would be helpful, potentially very helpful, to learn if Ben ever communicated with the prime minister by e-mail. Stranger things have happened. After all, Nixon was caught with hours of tape recordings. It's a long shot but, hey.
Ben is in what's known in legal parlance as "a mess." Right now he's got to be weighing his loyalty to Stephen Harper against his interest in a reasonably bright future. That's the problem for Steve. Too many people are in Perrin's situation or something akin to it. One person might fall on his sword to save Caesar but twelve, or more?