Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Duffy Trial Adjourned

Judge Charles Vaillancourt has adjourned the Duffy trial to Monday to allow counsel to sharpen their swords for the battle over whether some awkward Senate reports should be admitted into evidence.  The message is clear - the Tory dominated Senate would rather not have the public poking and prodding into what they've been up to.  The way they see it, what we don't know can't hurt them.

What I know of the proceedings is mainly what I get from the funny papers but I'm left with the impression that defence counsel, Don Bayne, is using the prosecution witnesses against both the Crown and the government of Stephen Joseph Harper.

Bayne also seems to be building a foundation that may make it possible to get Harper under oath.  The prime minister supposedly assured Duffy he qualified to represent PEI in the Senate.  It was "all good" according to Beelzebub.  Just get those campaign cheques pouring in and so the Cavendish Cottager did.

Mr. Bayne has also done a pretty good job on Crown witness Nicole Proulx, the former head of Senate finance.  On behalf of the prosecution she's accusing Duffy of having breached rules that she "understands" came out of a committee at some point.  Rules by hearsay?

What are your impressions of the trial?  How do you see Duffy coming through this?

Here's a rumour to whet your interest.  There's word in Ottawa that Nigel Wright may not be returning to town because the Crown could drop the bribery charge altogether which, by sheer coincidence, would take Wright, Ben Perrin and Stephen Harper off the hook.  Just a rumour.


Lorne said...

I was thinking as I read the report this morning about how the Senate wants to shield the public from any information about untoward expense claims by letting the guilty parties pay up when they are caught and thus end the matter. There could not be a more obvious and egregious middle finger offered to the public than this, methinks, Mound.

The Mound of Sound said...

I completely agree, Lorne. They were a self-righteous mob with torches and pitchforks when it came to driving the errant out of the Senate but now they realize a lot of them are in the very same boat and they want to put a lid very tightly over what gets out to the public.

The Mound of Sound said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
rumleyfips said...

I have watched the liveblog and like what Kady is doing.
Bain seems to really want Donahue's testimony. If it was unfavourable to Duffy, he would not be so insistent. If Donahue gives a reasonable account ( shouldn't be too difficult - its only $15,000 a year ) it would be a major coup for the defence.
Nothing damaging to Duffy has been presented by the Crown. A Failure with Donahue and a runaway Wright would leave a motion for dismissal at the end of the prosecutions case likely to succeed.
This would be good for Duffy, fantastic for Harper and bad for me. There is a lot of evidence in Bayne's hot little hands I would like to see.

The Mound of Sound said...

I've wondered how Bayne would handle the Donahue issue. It always seemed that this sort of "petty change" problem was the one most likely to snag the Cavendish Cottager. You're right, though, that Bayne seems keen on getting Donahue's evidence before the court.

the salamander said...

.. would you trade a Nigel on the stand
for a Stephen .. on the stand ?
presuming all the right questions are asked..
uh.. under oath ..

Dana said...

I've said all along that there wouldn't even be a trial and now that there is I find it hard to believe it'll amount to anything.

I'm not sure I can name one institution in this country that has not been perverted or corrupted or dissolved or otherwise made irrelevant.

I don't see why the courts and the administration of "justice" should be presumed to be pristine.

The country really needs another name now.

Anonymous said...

Pray tell, the Crown will fuck this up on purpose...

The Mound of Sound said...

Sal, without Nigel on the stand there probably won't be much hope of Harper getting forced to endure a Bayne grilling.

The Mound of Sound said...

Dana, I had a hunch it would be plea-bargained into oblivion long before the commencement date. I was assured by Ottawa friends that Duffy was looking for vindication and not interested in deals.

Apparently the Cavendish Cottager sees himself returning to the Senate as an independent once the trial is over. I expect Bayne will do much to clear the path by dragging the rest of the senators in with Duffy through the course of the trial.

Duffy looked positively villainous when Harper had him isolated. Now that we see they're all whores, he's just another glad-handing schmuck.

Frankly, I'd be delighted to see Duffy back in the Senate tearing into his former caucus colleagues. That could be quite a spectacle.

The Mound of Sound said...

@ Anon. Your speculation might just come to pass.

Anonymous said...

The rules on giving hush hush money from the PMO's office to a slug like Duffy is really clear, both parties should be charged. When wright wasn't picked up and ran into court in was pretty obvious that the fix was in.
The so called court case will drone on and in the end a deal will be cut.The taxpayer will pay for all the sleazy lawyers and probably give Duffy as well as Wright something for their pain.
True North screwed and bleeding.

The Mound of Sound said...

The suggestion that the deal contrived by Wright was somehow pure and altruistic is utter nonsense but speaks volumes for how far the RCMP were willing to go in "see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil."

It was a payment of money with inducements and conditions. One of the conditions was that Duffy stop talking and, especially, stop co-operating with the auditors duly appointed by the Senate. That was a corruption. Then there was the inducement that the PMO, obviously on the authority of Harper, would intervene with the Senate to launder the audit report on Duffy which was undertaken by senators Tkachuk and Harper operative Stewart Olsen. That is a corruption of the Senate itself.

The senior RCMP officers who pulled the strings had to be contortionists to avoid acknowledging the obvious and to suppress the facts - the very thing no investigator should ever do.

The conclusion is obvious. Charge Wright and you implicate Benjamin Perrin, other PMO staffers and, of course, Stephen Harper. The only way to take Harper off the hook was to take Wright off the hook, something Wright made obvious by his post-firing warnings that, if charged, he would not lie to protect Harper. Apparently he said as much on several occasions in Ottawa before word came down that he wouldn't be charged, whereupon he split.

Steve said...

Other Senators have gone to jail for less so in the end I think he does as well. However its great fun while it lasts, and yes the immaculate bribery charge is dropped

Scotian said...

If the Crown drops that bribery charge then they will have told the nation that justice in this nation truly is no longer beyond partisanship, beyond political interference. I have to wonder if even this Crown office is willing to be that nakedly obvious about it, but the Harperium has shown me that it is never wise to bet against the depths to which people are willing to sink within it.

Bad enough they filed the charge against Duffy without doing the same to Wright. To get to this late stage and then drop the only charge which would clearly bring the PMO and senior Senators of the CPC persuasion to the stand AFTER having gone so many months of claiming Duffy was a bribee, how that can be taken by any average Canadian as a direct desire to protect Harper right before an election by this Crown is hard to see. It is one thing to suspect that the courts have been that badly corrupted, including the Crown's by political partisanship, to have it demonstrated in as high profile a case as this one would almost have to remove any possible doubt. That is the only check I can see against such an action as you are claiming you are hearing about from happening, and I pray it is enough, but as I said, I am not going to assume it is, not after what the last decade has shown me.

As to the wider trial as a whole, seems to me Bayne has shown himself to be worth every cent he charges and then some. So far not one Crown witness has come out from cross looking at all credible anymore, and not because he attacks their personal character but because he attacks the basis for their testimony, and he is doing that very well it seems to me. I know I was more than a little irked last Friday when I heard Prouix complain about feeling like she was on trial. I mean really, you meet with the Crown and RCMP several times prior to the trial yet refuse to do so even once with the Defence despite knowing you are going to be a major witness in a high profile national criminal case with massive political ramification. Are you KIDDING me? I couldn't believe I heard that the first time I heard about it, I couldn't believe anyone that held such a staff job in Parliament could be that stupid, but then I guess I need to remember my favourite expression, never underestimate the power of human stupidity...sigh.

At this stage the Crown is looking really weak overall, and Bayne has shown himself to be a truly capable defence lawyer. If this is a pattern we will see throughout this trail it is believable that Duffy will escape conviction. I do think though given how he has been personally attacked by Harper that he will still want to take the stand even against legal advice even if everything is going their way by the end of the prosecution, I believe his ego will drive him that hard. We shall see.

The Mound of Sound said...

Proulx obviously cannot grasp that a criminal trial is an adversarial proceeding and that a Crown witness, called to adduce evidence of an alleged breach of rules that are nowhere to be found, must expect to be raked over the coals.

From what I've read I concur in your assessment of Bayne. His performance has been astonishingly methodical. A gifted criminal lawyer is a pleasure to watch. When I used to have a spare hour or so at the court house I would sometimes pop in to watch the really top counsel at work.