Thursday, April 21, 2016
Duffy Walks, Harper Convicted
For Prince Edward Island senator, Mike Duffy, it was a 31-0 shutout. For Stephen Harper, it's a legacy of disgrace.
Mr. Justice Vaillancourt acquitted Duffy of all 31 charges. He found Duffy to be "a piece on a chessboard" of a scheme orchestrated by a prime minister's office he condemned as "mind-boggling and shocking."
It should be a matter of days before the announcement of the retirement of RCMP Commish Bob Paulson. He was at the helm when the "immaculate bribery" charge was orchestrated.
The next question is how does Duffy recoup the roughly half-million in legal fees this trial has cost him? There are a lot of Tory senators and other party officials who are probably searching for transcripts of what unfortunate remarks they might have made back when they were in thrall to Harper. Not all of their comments were defamatory but a good many were and they were dripping with malice.
Will his fellow senators be collegial when the Cavendish Cottager arrives to reclaim his seat in the upper house? Are we about to see the Tory ranks in the Senate hastily thinned out?
UPDATE - 31 acquittals, straight across the board. The most impressive aspect to that is the rarity of it. Who gets charged with 31-crimes and gets found not guilty on every last one of them? But this judge, Vaillancourt, went further than not guilty, "off the hook." Time and again he found nothing wrong in Duffy's conduct. That's not an acquittal. It's exoneration.
This raises the question that won't go away. When there was no blameworthy conduct, nothing approaching criminal conduct, in so many of these charges, whose idea was it to lay the charges? Why did the Crown even proceed? Who was pushing this all along? Yeah, you're right.
What now? There's a dandy tort anchored in the ancient Common Law, the tort of "malicious prosecution." A 31 to zero acquittal outcome certainly establishes a prima facie case of malicious prosecution. Not even one conviction? None?
And who will be the defendants? Stephen Harper, Nigel Wright, Ray Novak, LeBreton, Tkachuk and Stewart-Olsen, Hamilton? Probably. Ooh, we might finally get to see Stephen Harper being cross-examined under oath.