Read the judge’s decision in the Duffy trial

Justice Charles H. Vaillancourt cleared Mike Duffy of all charges today. Read his ruling, for the record:


Ontario Court Justice Charles Vaillancourt’a 308-page decision amounts to complete vindication for Duffy and a scathing indictment of Harper PMO. Follow this link to the Canadian Press report on court today. Here is the judge’s decision:

Regina vs. Michael Dennis Duffy by Susan Allan


Read the judge’s decision in the Duffy trial

  1. And then we wonder why elected government members think they can get away with anything. And then we wonder why it seems criminals get off or get softer sentences as time goes on, Could it be that judges figure that is good for lawyers and are only possible because the judges have no controls on them and are now making law instead of the elected government or is because we people do not get involved?

  2. This judge’s reminder of the principal of presumption of innocence is nonsense and if all the charges were published with the government’s regulations and ask normal people if the were so complex they would make the same interpretation I know what the answer would be. Did anybody check how many senators did not get confused and claimed correctly?

    • “Did anybody check” well, yes they did. First we have a senate report that says that they were lax and did not properly communicate requirements effectively. But then there are the results of audits that were asked for but which they fought very hard to keep secret. In the end, at least several senators were found to have bungled their expenses to a level where they deserved approbation. Then there’s the auditor’s report which reported that several senators claimed expenses without any documentation making it impossible to judge what they understood or whether their claims were legitimate or not.
      One striking example is Carolyn Stewart Olsen, who like Duffy lived in Ottawa for several years before being appointed to the senate but unlike Duffy has nothing in New Brunswick to fasten a door-knocker to. Ms Olsen’s only excuse has been reported as “she had always planned on living in New Brunswick, but she couldn’t immediately sell the home in Ottawa.” – at least Mr Duffy has a physical abode to which he has even done ~$100,000 in improvements. Unlike Mr Duffy, Ms Olsen claimed residence expenses on her own initiative while Duffy did not until instructed to do so by Tkachuk, presumably so as to not draw attention to other senators in similar situations to Mr Duffy or Ms Olsen. When it comes to term of residency, according to Marj LeBreton, it still counts even if a senator lived somewhere else 99% of the time while Mr Duffy far exceeded the 1% mark even though his PEI digs is not winterized. What has not been discussed is whether or not actually working on senate business when present in Ottawa is a requirement or whether serving parliamentary posts including cabinet minister constitute dereliction of duty in the matter of serving the purpose of the senate as an independent body, as several senators have done; the same might be said about performing administrative and managerial duties for a political party.

      One thing the judge did focus on was that Mr Harper’s appointment of Mr Duffy may have been flawed although it was also found that at the time, Senate rules were unclear and undefined and only cleaned up several years later. For whatever reasons, Mr Harper gave no evidence in this matter.

      If some lightweight conservatives have dirt on them, it’s only because it rubbed off of others deeper in the mud.

  3. The judges decision amount to “Ignorance of the law is a legitimate defence for rich and/or powerful and/or famous people.” Or because someone tells you to do something, it is okay for you to do it, without regard to common sense.

    I’m fine with the dismissal of the bribery charges, but the dismissal of the others is absurd.

    • An internal working policy of the Senate isn’t exactly law and as we see Mr Duffy attempted at one point to apply common sense and was told differently by those who enforce and more or less make ‘the law’ as you put it. It’s pretty clear that there’s various forms of ‘residency’ for various purposes; that even the clerk of the Senate Mr Audcent gave confusing and conflated meaning to the term in his testimony, that the prosecutor introduced a lot of evidence that only seemed relevant if one conflates the term ‘residency’ as it pertains to the constitutional requirement for appointment to the senate with the term ‘residency’ as it pertains to claiming senate expenses; that the prosecutor then also conflated these two with the term residency as it pertains to tax regulation which has nothing to do with the other two things and even less to do with where one lives as where one earns income; in general is seems that many involved were prone to conflate and blur the definitions on a spectrum ranging from naively to constructively. What was never revealed was when Mr Duffy signed his declaration of residency which sort of residency he was attesting to i.e. was it as it pertains to his role as senator or as it pertains to expense claims. Mr Duffy’s defense for many of the charges is mainly that one must show intent, consequently, in the instances where he was acting on the advice and/or instruction and/or scripts of others senior and more authoritative than himself, one must assume his intent was to do the correct thing; the fault lies with those who misdirected him. There seems to be evidence of wrongdoing – it remains to be seen whether the true authors will now be put to the test. Also, if you’re going to represent senate rules as ‘law’, the first principle of law is openness so the results of investigations and audits of all senators as well as all internal proceedings must be made public and for at least 7 years back.

  4. “Mr. Neubauer stated that Senator Duffy’s actions were driven by deceit, manipulations and carried out in a clandestine manner representing a serious and marked standard expected of a person in Senator Duffy’s position of trust. I find that if one were to substitute the PMO, Nigel Wright and others for Senator Duffy in the aforementioned sentence that you would have a more accurate statement.” After reading
    all 308 pages, as good a summary as any. Sad.

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