l’Affaire Radwanski



The Ottawa Citizen’s Cassandra Drudi has the story:

OTTAWA — Former privacy commissioner George Radwanski has been found not guilty on criminal charges of fraud and breach of trust.

His former chief of staff Arthur Lamarche has been found guilty of one count of breach of trust, carrying a maximum penalty of five years’ imprisonment. The verdict was delivered by Ontario Court Justice Paul R. Bélanger Friday morning.

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l’Affaire Radwanski

  1. It’s moot really!
    Radwanski’s “antics” set back the authority / credibility of the Privacy Commissioner’s office at least 3 years (maybe five)…by which time it will hopefully recover – at a time when Information Technology is expanding at warp speed – and where basic human rights like privacy – and government and private sector intrusion is getting more blatant…OK – off soap box…
    And what is saddest – his journalistic background and a talent for good P/R actually had the office punching far more than its weight in the early 2000’s…until this whole thing unravelled…

  2. Actually, it looks to me like the Citizen missed the story.

    The Citizen has the verdict, but none of the details from the judgment. The Star does a much better job, but you really have to read the decision to understand how bizarre this outcome really is. From the Star:

    [Justice Belanger] also concluded that Art Lamarche, Radwanski’s then-chief of staff, had committed breach of trust in illegally securing $16,605.33 in unearned vacation pay for his boss, money the privacy czar was counting on to decorate a newly purchased Ottawa condo. The money was taken from Radwanski’s severance pay when the government sacked him in June 2003.

    “Whatever (Lamarche’s) motivation may have been, it was effected for a dishonest purpose i.e. Mr. Radwanski’s unjustified enrichment,” Justice Belanger said in his 18-page ruling.

    Radwanski said Lamarche had served him faithfully at a time when the office was greatly expanded to handle the need for privacy protections after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States. In addition to strong-arming junior personnel into advancing Radwanski cash against vacation time he was likely to take over the course of the 2002-03 fiscal year, Lamarche wrote his boss a $15,000 personal cheque to pay off his government credit card so that the tab wouldn’t appear on an annual report to Parliament.

    “I feel very badly that it has taken this turn,” Radwanski said. “My heart goes out to him.”

    Right. Well I’m sure that’s some consolation, Mr. Radwanski!

    • Well, I wouldn’t say we “missed” the story, so much as it wasn’t part of the second updated web hit I linked to, which we had posted about 12 minutes after Justice Belanger released his judgment. A fuller version of the story is here http://www.ottawacitizen.com/Entertainment/Radwanski+guilty+fraud+breach+trust+judge/1286365/story.html

      And in tomorrow’s paper there’s a 2000 word wrap on the whole affair, to go with the news story.

      At any rate, if anyone missed the story it’s the Star. Here’s the astonishing part from the judge’s decision:

      “By virtue of giving evidence, Radwanski raises a doubt. By virtue of his silence, Lamarche raises none. The Crown’s case against him is unanswered.”

      Of course, you’ll only get that amazing nugget if you read right to the end of Belanger’s decision.
      Or if you read the Citizen and not the Star.

      • That is really an astonishing statement for the judge to make (kudos, Citizen). What does he mean by “raises a doubt”? There must be more to it than that, somehow.

        • I took it to mean that Radwanski raised a doubt as to his guilt, whereas Lamarche did not.

      • I look forward to tomorrow’s story.

        Hopefully it will put Radwanski’s self serving and deluded comments in context.

        He got lucky.

  3. Ah well. The court of public opinion has already sentenced him to life beneath contempt.

  4. Andrew Potter, thanks for the Citizen link (what puts that story in the Entertainment folder on your server?).

    Wow. Radwanski is the beneficiary of now-proven criminal activity, and he blusters enough in court to beat the rap, and the underling goes to jail because he kept quiet. Am I following along?

  5. I have no comment on the verdict, nor the personal cost Mr. Radwanski may have incurred as a result of his prosecution, only just an observation that this is another example of a journalist (“Radwanski had had a twenty year career in journalism ” – wiki) whose judgment is questionable at best.

    Is it all just one happy fraternity?

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