Citizens should launch private prosecution against Harper

By Jeremy Smith

Ontario Justice Charles Vaillancourt’s ruling makes it clear who the guilty party in the Senator Mike Duffy’s trial is: Former Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Nigel Wright and the rest of Harper’s PMO. If the Crown Prosecutor is unable or unwilling to do so, Canadian citizens exercises their right to institute a prosecution for a breach of the law – a right described as a “a valuable constitutional safeguard against inertia or partiality on the part of authority.”

“Mr. Neubauer [the crown prosecutor] 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,” the judge said in his ruling. “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.”

What can be inferred from this ruling is that Prime Minister Harper’s men have fulfilled the criteria for a violation of Section 122 of the Criminal Code of Canada, which states:

“Every official who, in connection with the duties of his office, commits fraud or a breach of trust is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years, whether or not the fraud or breach of trust would be an offence if it were committed in relation to a private person.”

The Supreme Court laid out the set out five criteria to establish an offence under section 122 in R. v. Boulanger:

“The offence of breach of trust by a public officer is established where the Crown proves beyond a reasonable doubt that: (1) the accused is an official; (2) the accused was acting in connection with the duties of his or her office; (3) the accused breached the standard of responsibility and conduct demanded of him or her by the nature of the office; (4) the accused’s conduct represented a serious and marked departure from the standards expected of an individual in the accused’s position of public trust; and (5) the accused acted with the intention to use his or her public office for a purpose other than the public good, for example, a dishonest, partial, corrupt, or oppressive purpose.”

Moreover, Section 16 of the Parliament of Canada Act states:

16. (1) No member of the Senate shall receive or agree to receive any compensation, directly or indirectly, for services rendered or to be rendered to any person, either by the member or another person, (a) in relation to any bill, proceeding, contract, claim, controversy, charge, accusation, arrest or other matter before the Senate or the House of Commons or a committee of either House; or (b) for the purpose of influencing or attempting to influence any member of either House.

(2) Every member of the Senate who contravenes subsection (1) is guilty of an offence and liable to a fine of not less than one thousand dollars and not more than four thousand dollars. (3) Every person who gives, offers or promises to any member of the Senate any compensation for services described in subsection (1), rendered or to be rendered, is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year and to a fine of not less than five hundred dollars and not more than two thousand dollars.

What does Justice Vaillancourt’s have to say about the $90,000 cheque that Nigel Wright gave Senator Duffy?

“The PMO were also very active working behind the scenes to get all their ducks in a row. They attempted to get the Conservative Party of Canada to provide the funds for the repayment. When that failed, Nigel Wright stepped up and provided the funding out of his own pocket.”

The PMO has offered a member of the Senate money in relation to a claim, controversy, charge, and accusation, which is clearly a violation of Section 16 of the Parliament of Canada Act.

It’s also clear that, by omission or commission, the Crown Prosecutor has gone after the wrong man, while allowing the true culprits responsible for these crimes to get off scot-free. Instead of relying on the Crown to prosecute Harper’s PMO gang, it is perhaps time for a citizen to step forward and launch a private prosecution.

The Supreme Court of Canada states:

The right of a private citizen to lay an information, and the right and duty of the Attorney General to supervise criminal prosecutions are both fundamental parts of our criminal justice system.

“Anyone who has reasonable grounds to believe that a person has committed an offence may lay an information in writing and under oath before a Justice of the Peace,” according to the Attorney General of Ontario.

Private prosecution gives Canadian citizens a mechanism to take the law into their own hands in a completely legal manner. Canadians should make use of that mechanism to hold Mr. Harper and the rest of his PMO accountable for their actions by bringing them to justice.