April 11, 2015

Why Mike Duffy's intent is "centrally important" to trial's outcome -- and how mud slinging could backfire

Brian LilleyArchive

Ottawa defense lawyer Michael Spratt warns political junkies to lower their expectations about the Mike Duffy trial.

"Fraud is the least interesting charge in the criminal code," he says.

That said, Spratt (who describes himself as "left leaning") provides his expert take in easy to understand language.

For example, he explains why Duffy's intent is a key component to this case.

I expect Duffy to start slinging mud at the PMO when he takes the stand, but Spratt says he doubts that will happen. Find out why -- and remember to have your say in the comments!

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commented 2015-04-12 20:48:24 -0400
I agree Ken, I sure would like to see the way the senate works completely changed.
commented 2015-04-12 18:35:45 -0400
I don’t believe any of this started with Duffy or the conservatives. I don’t think it matters what party they belong to, because it seems the minute these people get appointed to the senate their sense of entitlement automatically kicks in. As for Liberals, they have no reason to be smug, because their track record is anything but clean. And, with the AG auditing a whole bunch more senators, they want to think twice before throwing to many stones from their glass houses. I seriously doubt the silver spooned camp counsellor would attempt to distance himself from liberal senators without their being a good reason.
commented 2015-04-12 16:50:39 -0400
Have any of you people actually listened to what some of these senators say during interviews. They all come up with a lot of mumbo jumbo to back each other up while they take, time and again, money right out of the taxpayers pockets?
Harper may not have a clue where all the money is going but he should certainly be aware of what his sidekick Nigel is up to. I mean that’s what being a boss is all about.
Generally politicians are lawyers so they’re trained well in the art of “lying” so we should question everything they say and not accept it like a flock of sheep.
I guess we can’t all have the same views.
commented 2015-04-12 00:07:57 -0400
Maybe it’s time to do away with the trough.
commented 2015-04-11 17:39:36 -0400
Some creatures classified as Rebels are not allowed close to the trough!
commented 2015-04-11 17:19:06 -0400
The real issue is : What creatures are allowed to feed at the trough. Every once in a while a farmer gets some that want to feed all the time. Maybe the question is: Should there be a trough? If the trough is removed, then there may be a squeal from the public broadcaster … they are getting $1,100,000,000.00 (yearly) worth of food from us. This amount pales the amount poured into the senators’ yearly trough.
commented 2015-04-11 17:11:36 -0400
Peter Babich. Exactly. This reminds me of the TPS witch hunt of Rob Ford. Too much money spent to try to sully opponents in order to win an election. I hope it backfires into a Conservative majority.

Great interview, Brian.
commented 2015-04-11 14:56:19 -0400
expecting any govt head to know everything that goes on in their govt is as unrealistic as anyone thinking Trudeau could run our country. Be realistic.
commented 2015-04-11 14:52:28 -0400
I hate how the liberals love to spend our money. How many millions will this cost taxpayers over what seems to be a few thousand dollars just to keep lawyers and judges employed. If it’s about principles then they need to clean up their own house
commented 2015-04-11 14:44:56 -0400
John Allen – You are NOT too bloody realistic are you. Why don’t you run for a seat in the HOC and then run for leadership of your party of choice and of course you will be elected hands down. When you become the PM, let’s see if you honestly know EVERYTHING that is going on. No doubt you think Trudeau would know everything that is going on.
commented 2015-04-11 14:37:44 -0400
John Allen — If you were the head of GM, would you know EXACTLY what everybody beneath you was doing, every minute of every day? If not, why not? This is what you’re claiming about Harper. Harper is NOT a Senator, therefore does NOT know all the inns and outs of the fiscal paperwork of a Senator; nor should he, because his responsibility is running the country, not the Senate. The Senate is a separate body from the House of Commons, and therefore does NOT fall under the jurisdiction/authority/control of the House of Commons. Thus, Harper MUST have “hands-off”. Harper can (and has) appoint people to the Senate, but that’s the end of it as far as he’s concerned. The rest is political mudslinging.

As far as the individual Senators are concerned, I’m quite certain that the “old-timers” who know the ropes and loopholes are going to use them, and that the “rookies” who have yet to learn those same loopholes might find the whole process confusing. (Look at our tax laws — are ANY of them straight forward and logical? Not even close!) Duffy is just ONE Senator who is being picked on as the test case, and that he’s ostensibly Conservative is merely politics. There are more Liberals involved in this; we just aren’t hearing about them from the mainstream media.
commented 2015-04-11 14:10:54 -0400
If Duffy submitted all the proper forms and payment was approved by two signatures under sections 34 and 35 of the Financial Administration Act I don’t see how a fraudulent misrepresentation charge would stick. He could be found to have been paid in error and be billed for repayment…apparently he already did that. If the funds for repayment were not taxpayer funds and no quid pro quo can be proven for making the repayment donation…guess what…you may have grounds for tightening up payment procedures to senators but hey…you always did anyway…but you really don’t have an anchor to sink Harper with.
commented 2015-04-11 14:10:24 -0400
The PM’s defence that he didn’t know anything about this is very concerning. The Senators claim to be confused as well about the guidelines concerning what they can and can’t do with their expenses. My only comment is that, firstly, if our PM doesn’t know what the hell is going on at all times, then he definitely should resign. Secondly, the senators can only be one of two things. If they are in the dark over what actually should be claimed as personal expenses then they are too stupid to be in their position, and if they’re not stupid then they are crooks. Either way, we should kick their asses out of there and eliminate the senate altogether.