Nigel Wright won’t face criminal charges

Nigel Wright won’t be charged over payment to Mike Duffy: RCMP


OTTAWA – RCMP officials say Nigel Wright, former chief of staff to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, won’t face criminal charges in connection with the ongoing Senate expenses scandal.

Wright resigned as Harper’s right-hand man after it was disclosed he wrote a personal cheque for $90,000 to Mike Duffy to allow the disgraced former Conservative senator to repay disallowed housing expenses.

Investigators now say the evidence gathered “does not support criminal charges” against Wright.

“When the RCMP initiated the investigation, there were sufficient grounds to pursue the matter with regards to the offences of breach of trust, bribery, frauds on the government, as well as receiving prohibited compensation contrary to the Parliament of Canada Act,” the Mounties said in a statement.

“Upon completion of the investigation, we have concluded that the evidence gathered does not support criminal charges against Mr. Wright.”

In a statement distributed Tuesday by lawyer Peter Mantas, Wright sounded a note of vindication.

“My intention was to secure the repayment of taxpayer funds. I believed that my actions were always in the public interest and lawful,” Wright said.

“The outcome of the RCMP’s detailed and thorough investigation has now upheld my position.”

In February, former Liberal senator Mac Harb and former Conservative senator Patrick Brazeau were charged with one count each of fraud and breach of trust — the first criminal charges to emanate from the scandal.

The Mounties continue to investigate allegedly fraudulent expenses claimed by Duffy and former Conservative senator Pamela Wallin.

The news also prompted a swift — if anodyne — statement Tuesday from the Prime Minister’s Office.

“We are pleased the RCMP has made progress in their work,” it said. “The Prime Minister’s Office will continue offering every possible assistance to the RCMP’s investigation.”

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Nigel Wright won’t face criminal charges

  1. Shocking!! Who could have seen that coming?

    • We’ll just file this with the Afghan detainees, Harper’s acknowledgement of the attempted Cadman bribery, the F-35 cost coverup and (soon) the 2011 voter suppression campaign.

  2. Honorable intentions or not this was an, ‘end-around’. Trusting now Mr. Wright disappears from the Canadian political scene.

  3. So the RCMP is the PMO’s lapdog. Anyone surprised?

    • In the process of bringing Elections Canada under control. Has military, GG, PBO, Speaker, even a museum!
      More? CBC well in hand.

    • Maybe Nigel happened to have his chequebook with him when he was being questioned.

  4. > The RCMP responded to what appeared, at the early stages of the this whole sordid mess in our Parliament, to be fully breaches of trust and fraud against the Government of Canada itself. They conducted this investigation over the past several months and this writer is confident that the right decision was taken not to pursue a criminal case against Mr. Wright. This is not to say that other members of the Government are innocent of wrongdoing.
    > In our system of justice an alleged perpetrator of any criminal, or potentially criminal, offense must be considered innocent unless the weight of evidence justifies charges. Even then, the charges must stand up to the scrutiny of the courts, our laws, and a jury if there is one in the case.
    > Whether Mr. Wright had any undeclared intentions of a criminal nature is not the point here. The real point is the collective weight of whatever evidence the RCMP uncovered and what could be proven beyond a reasonable doubt before the courts. Having come so close to the fire he very nearly became a pile of ash himself; the others who are involved in this entire fiasco, both those known and yet unknown, may not be so fortunate in the coming days. It appears to this writer that the weight of evidence will be very difficult, indeed, to overcome as this case winds slowly forward. Some may very well end up paying an enormous price for their conduct. This is as it should be. If those who make our laws cannot abide by the very laws they enact then it sends a very dark and somber, even sinister message to the people who expect conduct from our legislators that justifies the “Honourable” in front of their name.

  5. It’s sad (and somewhat pathetic) that in 2014 we find ourselves in an era where “There’s not enough evidence to charge me with committing a crime” is interpreted by the accused (and to some extent the masses) to mean “I did nothing wrong”.

    The RCMP simply said that the evidence they have “does not support criminal charges”. I hope that most Canadians are smart enough to realize that that does not support Wright’s contention that the RCMP have somehow confirmed his belief that his actions were “in the public interest and lawful”.

    I long for the days when people in politics would resign in shame for unethical behaviour with their heads hung low LOOOONG before anyone even CONSIDERED whether or not an actual crime had been committed. When did the bar shift from an expectation of ethical behaviour to an expectation of merely lawful behaviour by those in politics? And how long before the bar shifts such that no one charged with anything less than a violent felony feels the least compunction to feel bad about their behaviour, let alone to apologize or resign?

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