by Laura Stone, The Globe and Mail Published Thursday, Apr. 21, 2016
A judge has dismissed all 31 of the criminal charges against Senator Mike Duffy.
Ontario Court Justice Charles Vaillancourt on Thursday alternately dismissed or deemed Mr. Duffy not guilty of 20 charges of fraud and breach of trust relating to his housing and travel expense claims, eight charges around the awarding of Senate contracts and three concerning the $90,000 cheque from Stephen Harper’s former chief of staff Nigel Wright.
“At the end of the day I find that Senator Duffy is an overall credible witness,” Mr. Vaillancourt said as he was delivering his verdict.
The judge said he found no “sinister motive” in Mr. Duffy’s travel claims and said his expenses were in accordance with Senate rules as they existed at the time.
He said there was no mandatory training on Senate policies and “senators were unreasonably left to own devices.”
Mr. Vaillancourt also reprimanded the Crown attorneys for letting Mr. Duffy’s testimony go unchallenged, leaving the judge with only one version of events.
“The Crown must prove its case with evidence, not conjecture,” he said.
Mr. Duffy’s trial centered around the idea of primary residence and the first two charges had to do with the PEI senator’s expense claims for his Ottawa home.
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