Newspaper article The Canadian Press

'I Would Have Acted Differently,' David Livingston Says of Gas Plants Crime

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

'I Would Have Acted Differently,' David Livingston Says of Gas Plants Crime

Article excerpt

Ex-political aide sorry for trouble he caused

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TORONTO - A former top political aide apologized Tuesday for the fallout of his plot to destroy embarrassing computer records related to the Ontario government's decision to cancel two gas plants before the 2011 election, but stopped short of apologizing for his actual crime.

In a barely audible pre-sentencing statement to the court, David Livingston said he regretted his family, friends and colleagues had been put through the wringer.

"Knowing what I know today, I would have acted differently as chief of staff," Livingston told Ontario court Judge Timothy Lipson. "I apologize to my friends and family for the anguish I have put them through. I regret the time and money that has been required to investigate and prosecute this case, and I apologize to all my colleagues for the strain of direct or indirect involvement in this trial."

Lipson reserved his sentencing decision until April 11 after hearing a prosecution call to jail the former chief of staff to ex-premier Dalton McGuinty and a defence plea to hand down a conditional discharge.

Defence lawyer Brian Gover said no useful purpose would be served in sending Livingston, 65, to jail given the harsh punishment the court of public opinion has already meted out for an offence in which "no actual harm" was done and for which his client gained no personal benefit.

"He lost his job at a major law firm as a result of this investigation," Gover said. "His stellar reputation, which he built up over a lifetime, is now in tatters."

Contrary to the prosecution's assertions, Gover argued Livingston was never in a position of public trust. In fact, the lawyer noted, his client was acquitted of a charge of breach of trust and had made no attempt to interfere with the electoral process.

Lipson found Livingston guilty last month of illegal computer use and attempted mischief to data -- but stayed a conviction on the latter charge. He acquitted Livingston's deputy Laura Miller, who was also charged in 2015. …

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