Friday, April 10, 2015

We Hear Rumours

Spent almost two hours tonight with a veteran trial lawyer/long-time Tory insider dissecting Week One of the Duffy trial.

Stephen Harper won't be testifying at trial?  Who says?  Duffy's lawyer, Don Bayne, has been quietly establishing the foundational basis throughout the week that the trial judge may have no choice but to issue that subpoena.

Rumour has it that the Crown might just drop the whole essence of this proceeding - the bribery charge. People close to Nigel Wright are said to be floating the idea that Nigel may never take the stand.  No bribery charge, no need for Nigel to spill his guts on Harper, Perrin et al.

Imagine what you might do if the core charge is inexplicably dropped?  A motion to stay/dismiss all the charges?  A proceeding in malicious prosecution or vexatious proceedings?

Benjamin Perrin.  I hear there's an e-mail in which Perrin writes that Duffy will fold either out of embarrassment or because the PMO-directed trial will bankrupt him.  Benny, did you really write something that potentially damaging to yourself and your prime minister?  Were you that much of a cynical douchebag?

The Crown.  Did they get their lessons in prosecutorial brilliance from watching Marcia Clark in the OJ trial?  How about opening your trial with an expert witness who testifies that the applicable laws are hopelessly vague?  If the laws are so vague who influenced the prosecution to proceed?  If those laws are so vague, why did RCMP investigators choose to pretend that they demonstrated the criminal culpability of the Cavendish Cottager?  Is RCMP commish Paulson heading for early retirement?

What about the Prince of Darkness?  The documents introduced in court this week seem to show that this prime minister lied his ass off throughout this scandal as to his role, what he knew and when.  Nigel's written statements are as good as fingerprints on this score.

The Crown may have decided not to call Harper and Harper may believe he's off the hook but Steve's megalomania isn't the end of the issue.  He may be dragged, kicking and screaming, into the witness stand and, if so, it won't be for just an hour or two.

This is shaping up to be the biggest political trial in Canadian history.  It's set for 41-days but it could drag out far longer.  The defence is planning to interrogate Nigel Wright for more than a week and who knows how much more?

This is not going to die an easy death.


Kirbycairo said...

It began to occur to me this week that all the PM had to do was to put pressure on the prosecution to lose this case or have it thrown out and Harper is free and clear. The Government can then simply say that their was no wrong-doing after all and it's all good, as they say. In fact, the entire prosecution could have been a set up from the beginning, once the controversy broke the PMO could have figured that the only way to make it go away is to have Duffy exonerated in court and that, by association, exonerates the PMO.

Poof - instant end to the entire scandal.

Steve said...

I say Duffy walks. There seeems to be no overiding legal authority.
Like all good crooks the system has been fixed to make crimes legal.

Anonymous said...

Only three moves into the game and the Harperites have already lost their Queen and their King is in check. Play on.

Sub-Boreal said...

Despite all the overheated commentary, my prediction is that this will fizzle out like the BC Rail case.

rumleyfips said...

Sub-Boreal: A couple of weeks ago a lot of connentators though that there was enough time between the trail and the election for voters to loose interest.

The trial will last into early June at best, many think 41 days will not be enough. If more time is required, the judge and the lawyers will get together with their daytimes to arrange new dates; The first window could be months away.

Even if the trial ends in early June, the judge will not rule immediately. He will have reams of bumf to wade through and then will have to write an appeal proof decision. He may even take off for the cottage in August. His decision could come down as the election spools up.

A quick dismissal or a plea bargain could result in an email dump greater than any evidence that could make its way into court- Ah, them brown envelopes.

My prediction: we're in this for the long haul.

The Mound of Sound said...

Hi, Kirby. This trial is being conducted as much in the court of public (electoral) opinion as the court of law.

I would be surprised if Harper still has or, except at the investigatory level, ever had much control over this after he threw Duffy to the wolves. The investigation still smells so bad it reeks. Canadians don't buy this business about there being just one wrongdoer to a bribe. Lawyers don't get it either. That's the RCMP jumping through some pretty obvious political hoops.

The idea of staging a "Potemkin Village" trial is implausible. That sort of thing would be pounced on by defence counsel and it wouldn't get past the judge either.

Steve, I don't think that Duffy will necessarily walk. The residency business has been undercut to some extent but perhaps not enough.

The bribery charge remains alive. We'll just have to see what happens. Maybe the rumour will pan out and it will be dropped but the fallout from that would be massive.

As for this trial fizzling out, that call is a bit premature.

Sub-Boreal said...

Re: fizzling out - I will be happy to be proven wrong.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Sub-Boreal.
This case is carbon copy BC Rail.

Scotian said...

I've noted before there is only one reason for Wright not being charged that ever made any sense to me. That being the Crown trying to preserve his credibility as a witness for trial. I would presume against Duffy but a lesser yet still possible fish might be Harper himself down the road under the theory that what comes out in this trial leads to charges there, a long shot low order possibility I agree but not impossible either. In that case Wright's credibility would be a major importance indeed and preserving it by not charging him would almost be a necessity I would suggest.

I mean Wright would hardly be the first turned evidence Crown witness party to a crime to not be charged in exchange for testimony after all. I would though have preferred it if someone had actually explained that instead of leaving it as the mystery it has been since it was first revealed he wouldn't be charged. Still, it is the only explanation I've been able to come up with that seems to fit Occam's famous shaving device.

The Mound of Sound said...

In a political case of this magnitude it would have been incumbent on the prosecution to divulge such an immunity-for-testimony deal, Scotian. Also recall that it was the RCMP which absolved Wright of any criminal culpability, itself a curious development.

deb said...

Im following the trial closely, I hope Harper gets called to the stand, but I am sure he will have a sudden diplomatic emergency in the ukraine or whereever.
Thanks Mound for providing some legal insider dirt as I havent the knowledge to understand the charges and the implications.
but even for a laymen like me, not charging Nigel was very strange, and I bet its all very corrupt.
which probably means the whole trial is a dog and pony show that wont really do much.
I Hope not but, im with cynical bc'ers, this might go off the rails like the bc rail trial:P
leaving the rich and powerful politicians unscathed, and just cost the taxpayers millions.

Scotian said...


I would have thought so too, but it is still the only explanation that makes any sense to me barring any actual offered explanation. And after watching how the Crown opened this case I am starting to wonder just how much I should be expecting that level of competence from them. Having your opening witness to lay the foundation of the rules being so clear ending up looking more like the witness for the defence does not exactly impress one. Did the RCMP absolve him though solely of their own volition, or was it in coordination with the Crown, again, it isn't like that has not happened in lower not so political trials. For that matter, this is a level of political trial that this nation has rarely ever seen, so it would not surprise me if some things that might seem obvious were not actually treated as such by those involved, including the Crown.

Unknown said...

I hope Mound, you get to stay in touch with the Tory insider throughout the trial. I find insider, not all but most are the ones with the real knowledge.

the salamander said...

.. I note the careful use by PM Harper of this phrase to any direct question.. "I do not have any knowledge of these things"

That's an 'answer' that is dismissable as meaning or communicating anything.. in regard to any question.. 'these things' .. really.. !

Its a vague slippery avoidance straight from Chauncy Gardener meets Forrest Gump and they discussed exactly what ? Now prove it in a court of law... .... !

The whole Duffy 'thing' is now the Trial of PM Harper, his underlings.. and Canada getting a look up his skirt to see where & how ugly his cooties are.. In other words.. its just plain disgusting

A last thought .. if Nigel Wright is asked the correct questions.. I suspect he blows Stephen Joseph Harper out of his lead lined closet and out where the boreal wolves of MainstreamMedia can tear at him.. without concern or pity..

Its possible we are watching one of the great western disintigrations.. of a partisan government, its related political party, the humiliation of all its enablers and complicits..

And we see the stony glares of Harper's BIG Energy Partners who pimped him into place.. They're wondering how they bet so large on such a pompous arrogant pig with such a shallow, dim, shrill talent pool.

Purple library guy said...

As I recall, the BC Rail trial was delayed for a number of years until everyone had forgotten what it was about, and then most of the proceedings and evidence kept secret when they tried it at a time carefully far from an election. I believe they managed to keep the whole thing narrow enough that they were able to avoid gathering much evidence in the first place, let alone letting the public know about any of it.
This has not been finessed nearly so well.