Five Things about Sen. Mike Duffy's Trial for Fraud, Breach of Trust, Bribery

The Canadian Press, April 20, 2016 | Go to article overview

Five Things about Sen. Mike Duffy's Trial for Fraud, Breach of Trust, Bribery


Five things about the Mike Duffy case

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OTTAWA - Ontario Justice Charles Vaillancourt will deliver his decision Thursday on Sen. Mike Duffy's fraud, breach of trust and bribery charges, all of which stem from his controversial Senate housing and travel expenses.

Here are five things to know going into the verdict:

1. Duffy faces 31 charges. They fall into five categories: issues related to living expenses Duffy claimed for his suburban Ottawa home; inappropriate expenses relating to personal and partisan activity; inappropriate expense claims assisted with personal attendance and funerals and related ceremonies; disbursements of money paid to Duffy's friend Gerald Donohue for illegitimate expenses; and charges relating to the receipt of a $90,172.24 cheque from Nigel Wright, then the prime minister's chief of staff.

2. That he's a senator is a important element of the alleged crimes. The breach of trust charges Duffy faces are because of his role as a public official and he can be found guilty whether or not the crime would be an offence if committed by a private person. The Supreme Court lays out the reason for this provision of the Criminal Code in a 2006 case known as R. vs. Boulanger, writing that public officials are given their authority to be used for the public benefit, so they should be answerable to the public "in a way private actors may not be."

3. He is facing jail time if convicted. The breach of trust charges carry a maximum penalty of five years in prison. Six of the fraud charges are for amounts over $5,000, which carry a maximum 14-year term. The fraud charges under $5,000 could be met with prisons terms of less than two years. …

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