PETERBOROUGH, Ont. – Former Conservative MP Dean Del Mastro is to continue testifying in his own defence today at his election-overspending trial in Peterborough, Ont.
Del Mastro — who now sits as an Independent — has pleaded not guilty to charges related to allegedly exceeding spending limits in his 2008 re-election campaign.
The Crown alleges he paid Holinshed Research for its voter identification and get-out-the-vote calling services from a personal account, thereby exceeding a limit on personal contributions.
But Del Mastro testified Wednesday that he never asked the data-consulting firm to conduct the voter ID calls that are at the core of the Election Act charges against him.
Del Mastro’s lawyer has already suggested that his client’s personal payment to Holinshed — a key part of Elections Canada’s case — was for riding mapping software, not voter ID call services.
The defence will try to convince the court that because the money was spent on GeoVote software, it ought not to have counted against Del Mastro’s campaign spending limit.
And Del Mastro said GeoVote never ended up working for his campaign in 2008.
The Crown has also alleged Del Mastro tried to cover up the alleged overspending by using backdated invoices to make it appear Holinshed had only charged a fraction of the overall cost during the election period.
Del Mastro has pleaded not guilty to charges of overspending during the 2008 campaign, failing to report a personal contribution of $21,000 to his own campaign and knowingly submitting a falsified document.
He left the Conservative caucus in September 2013 and has maintained his innocence throughout the trial, which is now in its third week.