[In such cases, Judicial Review MAY be Appropriate]
….. Senator Mike Duffy is in court to defend 31 charges, covering four sections of the Criminal Code. Normally, in such Criminal Code cases, counsel for the defense is required to submit a requisition for court time in order for the defendant to produce witnesses in support of his/her defense.
The trial was set for April 7-May 12, and then June 1-19 for a total of about 8 weeks.
The first 28 (of 31) charges leveled against Duffy are for fraud (Section 380(1) Criminal Code) and breach of trust (Section 122). Those 28 charges are summary in nature. Motive (or mens rea) is not an issue and does not need to be established so as to determine the case. It is simply a matter of establishing whether or not the fraud took place. In Duffy’s case(s), the sum total of the money allegedly misappropriated seems to total around $90,000.00.
After over 40 days of testimony, no defense has been advanced pertaining to the first 28 criminal charges.
The remaining 3 charges pertain to solicitation of or receipt of a bribe. Duffy’s counsel has spent hours/days and weeks of court time in an attempt that seems very contrary to his client’s (Duffy’s) best interest. One would have expected that defense council (Donald Bayne) would have led evidence in an attempt to prove that Duffy was not offered a bribe or that he never accepted a bribe.
What has transpired in the court is a parade of witnesses who, if they corroborated what Bayne’s line of questions appear to be attempting to establish is that Duffy knew he was accepting a bribe in the form of $90,000 and would therefore be guilty.
Whatever the intent of Bayne’s questions, there comes a point where a reasonable judge would say, “Enough. It is high time that you began mounting a defense and stop the spectacle. Bring witnesses that you feel will establish that Mr. Duffy did not accept a bribe or stand down.”
A reasonable person would want answers to three (3) questions.
Who Is paying for Duffy’s Lawyer?
Things just not adding up concerning Duffy’s financial wherewithal or capability to finance legal costs for a case likely to extend well into 2016 if allowed to proceed.
At the heart of the bribery charges was Duffy’s financial inability to repay the initial $90,000 that had allegedly been obtained by way of fraud.
In Duffy’s statement of defense, his lawyer (Donald Bayne ) appended a separate letter to the court pleading sympathy for his client. Bayne’s letter stated, “Despite Sen. Duffy’s serious ongoing health problems, which compromise his strength, and, despite his limited resources, he intends to defend fully and fairly and to show that the truth and innocence are on his side.”
In normal criminal cases, such questions as to source of defense counsel’s compensation may likely never be asked. However, in this case in which defense has created suspicions about elected officials, the question begs an answer. Public cost continues to mount and the misuse of court time is, in itself a miscarriage of justice.
What (if any) is Donald Bayne’s Political involvement?
I spent a few minutes on Election Canada web site donations list for the period 2006 through 2014 and came across a number of sizable donations from an individual named Donald Bayne. I have no way of confirming if the “Donald Bayne, Ottawa” is the same Donald Bayne who is presently defense counsel for Mr. Duffy. However, each of the donations (Bayne/Ottawa) listed on the web site was made to either the Liberal Party of Canada or specific Liberal candidates in various elections.
Everyone is entitled to offer financial support to the party of their choice. The court room is NOT a political stage as it has become though Mr. Duffy’s defense. Innuendos are being suggested and the Duffy case has turned into political drama. Such things impugn the reputation of our courts.
At the very least, I think that it is incumbent Donald Bayne to clear the air on those donations. They are, after all “public record”. Full disclosure is badly needed.
Why Such Latitude in Scope of Questions?
Without restricting Duffy’s opportunity to defend his own actions or to retain and instruct counsel, there is a basic understanding that questions MUST be germane, to the point and useful. Spurious lines of questions that may be deemed to be unconnected to the case being heard serve no purpose may be seen as purely political and are a waste of court time.
The trial judge hearing this case would be well advised to seek guidance from the Chief Justice in hope of re-jigging this circus and getting things back on track.
Copyright Thunderbird Rising 2015
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