Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Montreal judge delays trials of Brault, Guité

The Globe and Mail has this story about the criminal fraud trials of Jean Brault and Chuck Guite':

A Montreal judge has delayed the criminal fraud trials of ad executive Jean Brault and former bureaucrat Chuck Guité until June 6.

Their trials were to have begun May 2, but the two men had asked that they be delayed until September.

Mr. Guité and Mr. Brault said they did not have enough time to prepare for the trial.

In allowing only a short delay, Quebec Superior Court Justice Lise Côté's decision might mean that the lifting of a publication ban on Mr. Brault's explosive testimony before the sponsorship inquiry, as had been anticipated to happen Wednesday, may not happen.

Mr. Justice John Gomery, who is heading up the sponsorship inquiry at which Mr. Brault is currently testifying, had imposed the ban on Mr. Brault's testimony because it could have influenced the jury in his criminal trial.

But because the criminal trial is now coming up so quickly, he may choose to keep the ban in place.

Ban or not To Ban? Even so..... the stench of corruption is leaking out slowly from Ottawa.

Update #1

Captain Ed over at Captain's Quarters has his take on the day's events here:

Adscam Trials Delayed Until June

"Justice Lise Côté postponed the trials of Jean Brault and Chuck Guité until June 2nd, far shorter than the September date the two men requested to prepare their defense. The shorter date calls into question whether Justice Gomery will lift the publication ban as had been anticipated in the event of a postponement:

A Montreal judge has postponed the criminal fraud trials of ad executive Jean Brault and former bureaucrat Chuck Guité until June 6, putting into question whether a ban on explosive testimony Mr. Brault provided at the sponsorship inquiry will be lifted.

Quebec Superior Court Justice Lise Côté decided Wednesday to put the two men's criminal trials over until June 6. They were supposed to have begun on May 2, but Mr. Brault and Mr. Guité argued that they did not have enough time to prepare for that date. They had asked that their trials be delayed until September. ... The ban was instated to ensure that the jury at Mr. Brault's trial not be tainted by information out of the Gomery inquiry.

It difficult to say what move Judge Gomery will make now that Mr. Brault's criminal trial has been delayed only one month.

I don't think that the extra four weeks will make much difference to Justice Gomery on lifting the publication ban. What will impact the decision is how much of Brault's testimony has already escaped the ban through CQ and other websites, and the tremendous public interest the information generated in Canada. If Gomery thinks that more compelling information may come out, he may decide that a full disclosure to the public, including cross-examination by Liberal lawyers, will serve Brault better than a selective release through a single source. That decision would be the correct one, of course, and the decision he should have made in the first place.

Interestingly, Gomery had given Liberals standing in the inquiry, which allows them to cross-examine witnesses such as Brault. Today he denied standing to Conservatives and BQ, stating that their parties have not been directly affected by the testimony. In a subtle way, Canadians should understand from that decision that the witnesses have testified to significant wrongdoing by Liberal politicians and bureaucrats, but have not implicated anyone else.

If I hear more from my source, I will post it as soon as I'm able."

Stay tuned

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