Dean Del Mastro's lawyer seeks mistrial in overspending case

Crown lawyer's response: 'Mr. Del Mastro doesn't get a do-over because he doesn't like the result'

PE DEL MASTRO VERDICTPETERBOROUGH, Ont. — Former Conservative MP Dean Del Mastro is seeking to have a mistrial declared in his election overspending case.

Del Mastro, a former parliamentary secretary to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, was convicted last fall of violating the Canada Elections Act during the 2008 election.

He resigned his House of Commons seat two weeks after the verdict.

At what was supposed to be a sentencing hearing Tuesday in Peterborough, Ont., Crown lawyer Tom Lemon said Del Mastro’s new attorney has filed an application for a mistrial.

Lemon said he is seeking to have that application dismissed, calling it an attempt to appeal the judgment in the case.

“The trial is finished. Mr. Del Mastro doesn’t get a do-over because he doesn’t like the result,” Lemon told Justice Lisa Cameron, who has presided over the case. “There’s nothing to suggest he didn’t receive a full and fair trial.”

Del Mastro has failed to show his new arguments in the mistrial application are any different from those made at trial, Lemon said. Even if they were, why were they not made during the trial, he asked.

“I call it an application to re-open and effectively to vacate Your Honour’s verdict in this case,” he said.

“Your Honour should not be put in the untenable position of standing in judgment of your own position and deciding whether you were right.”

Del Mastro was found guilty of exceeding spending limits, failing to report a personal contribution of $21,000 to his own campaign and knowingly submitting a falsified document.

He faces a maximum penalty of one year in jail and a $2,000 fine on each of the three convictions.

Del Mastro’s mistrial application was brought by his new lawyer, Leo Adler, who was hired after Cameron delivered her judgment. That in itself is an issue, Lemon argued.

“Not only has he failed to demonstrate that his arguments are any different, but he’s also relying on an incomplete record,” he said, noting that Adler didn’t have transcripts for every bit of testimony heard during Del Mastro’s trial.

Lemon also suggested that it was time for Del Mastro to accept his fate.

“There has to be finality to these proceedings,” he said.

“What Mr. Del Mastro’s application boils down to is an argument that this court was wrong in convicting him and incorrect in deciding the legal and factual issues as it did. In my submissions that is an application for an appellate court.”

Del Mastro has maintained his innocence throughout his legal battles. He has described Cameron’s decision as “her opinion” — one he respects but disagrees with.

Del Mastro sat in court with a serious expression on his face as arguments on his mistrial application were being heard. His wife and newborn baby girl were among the family members who accompanied him to court.

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