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New draft ethics guidelines for judges caution them about post-bench work – CBC.ca

December 15th, 2019

If he could do it all over again, former Supreme Court of Canada justice Ian Binnie says he would not have offered the Harper government a legal opinion that ended up being used in a political controversy over a rejected high court appointment.

That’s one reason he welcomes new draft revisions to the Canadian Judicial Council’s ethical principles for federally appointed judges, which would govern what work a judge seeks after retirement and how they provide legal advice. 

“It was a case where I thought there was a genuine request for an opinion and it turned out what they wanted was a letter that the government could wave around,” Binnie told CBC News.

“I think if I’d been approached to produce a letter that the government would use as part of its public relations exercise, I would’ve refused.”

In 2014, the government of then-prime minister Stephen Harper appointed Federal Court of Appeal Justice Marc Nadon to the Supreme Court to take one of three designated seats from Quebec. The government used a legal opinion obtained from Binnie to support the decision.

However, the Supreme Court blocked the Nadon appointment in a six-to-one decision that determined he did not qualify to join the high court.

You can never lose the fact that you are a former judge, particularly a Supreme Court of Canada judge– Ian Binnie, former Supreme Court justice

Since then, Binnie said he’s declined a number of job opportunities. In some cases, he said, it was quite obvious that clients wanted to use his opinion because of his title as an ex-high court justice.

“You can never lose the fact that you are a former judge, particularly a Supreme Court of Canada judge,” Binnie said.

“That is really part of the baggage you carry around so you have to be careful that it’s not misused.”

Preventing the misuse of a former justice’s status is one goal of revisions to the Canadian Judicial Council’s ethical principles, which act as guidelines for judges’ professional and personal lives.

Council urges caution

In its review, the council says judges have to respect certain obligations and expectations even after they retire, since they may still be regarded by the general public as representatives of the judiciary.

“It’s clearly a matter of concern,” said Eugene Meehan, former executive legal officer at the Supreme Court of Canada and a lawyer specializing in Supreme Court of Canada issues at the Ottawa firm Supreme Advocacy.

“On the one hand, it’s helpful to have continued access to expertise, experience and bench strength. But on the other hand, there also comes a time when it’s time to hang up the hockey skates and close the locker.”

Former Supreme Court of Canada justices, from left, Thomas Cromwell, Frank Iacobucci, John Major and Beverley McLachlin were sought for legal advice during the SNC-Lavalin affair. (The Canadian Press)

In its draft revisions, the council urges ex-judges to exercise caution when accepting jobs and providing legal advice in high-profile or politically contentious matters where clients can make use of a former judge’s status to advance their interests.

‘Nothing sinister about giving a legal opinion’

The propriety of post-retirement work for justices became a topic of debate during the SNC-Lavalin affair. Four former Supreme Court of Canada justices provided legal advice on the matter, according to a report by Ethics Commissioner Mario Dion.

Frank Iacobucci, who sat on the high court from 1991 to 2004, acted as legal counsel for the Quebec engineering firm. Iacobucci requested an opinion from John Major, who served on the bench from 1992 to 2005, on the legality of the Director of Public Prosecutions refusing to give SNC-Lavalin a deferred prosecution agreement and withholding its reasons for that decision.

“I would do it again,” Major said. “There’s nothing sinister about giving a legal opinion.”

Major now works as a lawyer in Calgary with Bennett Jones LLP. Like all ex-judges, Major is allowed to provide legal advice but cannot appear in court.

John Major, who served on the Supreme Court of Canada bench from 1992 to 2005, does not see anything wrong with former justices providing legal advice as long as they use common sense. (Colin Hall/CBC)

“There’s a perception that a former judge carries some unusual ability,” Major said. “The fact is, I think, that a sitting judge is not going to be particularly interested in what a former judge said.”

Major called the judicial council’s draft revisions good advice, but said he doesn’t think it will have any practical effect.

“They have no discretion on telling a judge who is retired what he can and cannot do,” he said. “They go beyond what their legal authority is.”

The draft recommendations are advisory in nature. It’s up to individual law societies across the country to implement them and give them teeth.

Stakeholders and judges have until Feb. 14, 2020 to provide feedback on the proposed changes. A final version is expected to be released in late 2020.

Legal expert says ex-justices should not return to practice

Amy Salyzyn, a legal professor at the University of Ottawa, said she doesn’t think former Supreme Court of Canada justices should practice law under any circumstances.

“There’s a real concern that the playing field is not level when judges are practising,” Salyzyn said. “The risk is too high.”

Judges are living longer and retiring earlier, which has led to more of them returning to private practice.

Forty-one retired judges applied to return to practice in Ontario between the beginning of 2013 and the fall of 2018, according to the province’s law society.

Amy Salyzyn, law professor at the University of Ottawa, is concerned about former Supreme Court judges using their titles in private practice. (Jean-Francois Benoit/CBC)

The proposed changes come after the judicial council conducted a public survey which saw 71 per cent of respondents agree that judges should not discuss future job opportunities while serving on the bench.

Seventy-five per cent of the 1,000 submissions from Canadians and stakeholders also said that, upon retirement, judges should not use the prestige of their former positions to gain business advantages. Sixty per cent thought former judges should not argue a case or appear in court.

Once-in-a-generation change

The revisions to the ethical principles for judges are significant for the legal community, as the judicial council only updates them once in a generation. This is the first time the principles have included a substantial section dedicated to post-judicial employment.

Ex-judges are encouraged by the judicial council to act as arbitrators, mediators or commissioners, but they are not allowed to appear as counsel before a court, an administrative body or a dispute resolution proceeding in Canada.

The proposed changes warn retirement planning could undermine a judge’s image of impartiality and create the impression of a conflict of interest.

They also say the same concern exists where a judge is “testing the waters” in the private sector, or soliciting opportunities. It recommends that such conversations happen only after a judicial term has ended. 

Binnie retired from the bench in 2011 after 14 years on the Supreme Court of Canada. He practices arbitration and mediation at the legal practice Arbitration Place in Toronto, and welcomes the council’s recommendations. 

“I think if judges in their post-judicial career look like opportunists and try to build a career based on their former role as a judge, it’s bad for the judiciary,” Binnie said.

“I think most judges recognize red lines when they come across them and respect them.”

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Ottawa extended status eligibility to hundreds of thousands over concerns the decision was rushed, documents show – National Post

December 15th, 2019

OTTAWA — Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett opted to move ahead with extending eligibility for Indian status to possibly hundreds of thousands of people ahead of the last election, despite concerns from the federal bureaucracy about a lack of consultation and inadequate resources.

The decision, announced in August, was intended to eliminate 150 years of sex-based discrimination from the Indian Act, which for decades stripped Indigenous women who married non-Indigenous men of their Indian status, but not the reverse, with implications for generations of descendants.

It was the final step in the implementation of Bill S-3, a federal law passed by the Liberal government in 2017 to extend status eligibility to descendants of women who lost status dating back to 1869.

This last step, known as the removal of the 1951 cut-off, has received a mixed reaction from First Nations, some of which are concerned about a possible influx of new registrants looking to join their communities and benefit from Indian status. Estimates suggest removal of the cut-off could entitle 270,000 to 450,000 people to registration under the Indian Act over the next decade.

Many others believe the change provides justice to people unfairly denied Indian status who have waited decades for recognition. “Our government committed to eliminating all sex-based discrimination in Indian Act registration, and we delivered on that promise,” the office of Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller told the National Post in a statement.

However, an internal document obtained by the Post through access-to-information shows officials in the department of Crown-Indigenous Relations were concerned the government wasn’t prepared for the removal of the 1951 cut-off, and felt more consultation was needed. The briefing note for Bennett, dated April 10, seems to suggest she hold off until after the October election, though the recommendation itself is redacted.

First Nations are divided about when the changes should be implemented, but an implementation plan that considers the key messages of First Nations is recommended

“First Nations are divided about when the changes should be implemented, but an implementation plan that considers the key messages of First Nations is recommended,” it reads.

“If you move to implement the removal of the 1951 cut-off prior to October 2019… (it would) directly contradict commitments and quotes made by you on the promise to fully consult and make plans together with stakeholders.”

Ultimately, Bennett overruled the advice from her department and removed the 1951 cut-off on Aug. 15, less than a month before the start of the federal election campaign.

The briefing note states that several First Nations and Indigenous organizations had requested more time to consult and submit reports. It also says there hadn’t been enough time for officials to consult with other government departments about the impacts of the change. “As such, the department does not have all the information to prepare a thorough implementation plan prior to the election.”

The document also raises concerns about the ability of the Indian registrar’s office, which assesses status eligibility, to keep up with an influx of new applications. “The demand for processing registration applications would exceed current capacity and existing processes,” it says. “As a result, the processing of applications for registration would suffer greater delays.”

However, the document acknowledges that postponing past the election would open the government up to criticism “regarding delays on the implementation of women’s and human rights with no set deadline.”

Miller’s office, which has taken over responsibility for Bill S-3 from Bennett, said resources will be added progressively to assess up to 554,000 applications over the next decade. So far, the department has received approximately 22,000 applications under the new law, in line with expectations. A government website says it currently takes about 16 weeks to issue a status card.

To explain the timing of the decision, Miller’s office pointed to recommendations made earlier this year by a ministerial special representative, Claudette Dumont-Smith, who said the 1951 cut-off should be removed by June 2019.

However, a report submitted to Parliament in June, accompanied by Dumont-Smith’s findings, noted that “First Nations indicated that they have not had enough time to consult with their full membership… on the removal of the 1951 cut-off.” The report also says some First Nations raised concerns “that newly entitled individuals will apply for registration in order to take advantage of services and benefits without seeking a connection to the community or culture.”

A few First Nations have taken steps to restrict their own membership and residency criteria in response to the full implementation of Bill S-3, including the Mohawk Council of Kahnawake on Montreal’s South Shore. The First Nation passed a new law in June governing who can live in the community. Kahnawake also requires members to have at least four Mohawk great-grandparents.

Kahsennanhawe Sky-Deer, an elected council member, called Bill S-3 “the new assimilation tactic” — a way to erode Indigenous culture by extending status to many people without ties to Indigenous communities. “We see it as a complete interference by the federal government of deciding identity, belonging and citizenship,” she said.

Sky-Deer said there was “definitely” not enough consultation with First Nations on the possible consequences of Bill S-3. “I still feel that people have blinders on, that they don’t really see what’s coming,” she said.

Damien Lee, an associate fellow at the Yellowhead Institute, a First Nation-led think tank, said Bill S-3 rights a long-standing historical wrong, but could have unintended consequences. “This bill does justice to those people who know that they belong with the community,” he said. “It does open the door, though, to folks that, for better or for worse, aren’t really Indigenous people anymore, in the sense that they’re not connected to community.”

Still, Lee said Bennett made the right decision in removing the 1951 cut-off in August. “I would say that the people who needed this to happen needed it to happen decades ago,” he said.

Bill S-3 is the latest in a series of legislative changes, beginning in 1985, which have gradually removed sex-based inequities from the Indian Act. The law stems from a 2015 Quebec Superior Court decision that found some registration rules still violated Charter rights. Until the passage of Bill S-3, first cousins could end up with different statuses based on the sex of their Indian grandparent, and male and female siblings born out of wedlock could have different statuses.

Those issues were addressed by changes that took effect in December 2017. But a previous amendment had restricted the expansion of status eligibility to grandchildren of women who lost status and were born after 1951 — the 1951 cut-off. The Liberals decided to remove that cut-off after a period of consultation and extend eligibility to the descendants of women who lost status dating back to 1869.

Once registered, status Indians are eligible for federal benefits and services including treaty payments, post-secondary education funding and non-insured health benefits.

• Email: mforrest@postmedia.com | Twitter:

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Suspected alligator seen crossing Montreal street – Global News

December 15th, 2019

What appears to be an alligator was seen crossing Jarry Street on Sunday afternoon in Montreal’s Villeray neighbourhood.

Local resident Mayssam Samaha, who witnessed and recorded the bizarre sight, was sitting by the window at Baristello cafe with her friends when they saw the reptile slowly crossing the busy street.

Samaha told Global News that she and her friends went outside to stop traffic and make sure the animal didn’t get run over by a car.

READ MORE: 5-foot alligator living in Chicago lagoon: police

The owner of Baristello, Piero Ciampoli, then called Montreal police. “It was a pretty funny phone call,” Samaha said.

Ciampoli said police asked him in disbelief if he was sure he knew what he was saying. “They didn’t believe me,” the cafe owner told Global News.

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Ciampoli then went down the street to the local fire station and got firefighters to come to the scene and confirm his claim to police.

READ MORE: Pennsylvania man says emotional support alligator helps his depression

Just before police arrived, a man who appeared to be the reptile’s owner showed up, picked up the animal and put him in the backseat of his minivan.

Samaha said authorities located the man’s van and went to address the incident. Montreal police confirmed that the animal had escaped the van and was safely returned to its owner.

Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante tweeted on Sunday that the alligator’s owner has all the proper permits to own the reptile and that the animal is a part of an animal education program.

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1:33Alligator caught in Chicago park lagoon named ‘Chance the Snapper’

Alligator caught in Chicago park lagoon named ‘Chance the Snapper’

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Escaped crocodile spotted crossing the street in Villeray – CBC.ca

December 15th, 2019

A crocodile was spotted crossing Jarry Street East in Montreal on Sunday afternoon, after it escaped from a van parked nearby.

Police confirmed the reptile belongs to a company that puts on exotic animal demonstrations.

Employees were stopping for lunch in the area, police said, and accidentally let the crocodile get away.

The animal made a break for it as the van’s automatic door was closing.

It crossed Jarry Street near Chateaubriand Avenue and hid under a car, attracting some attention from pedestrians.

Police said employees quickly captured the animal and returned it to the van before officers arrived on the scene. 

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Escaped crocodile spotted crossing the street in Montreal’s Villeray neighbourhood – CBC.ca

December 15th, 2019

A crocodile was spotted crossing Jarry Street East in Montreal on Sunday afternoon, after it escaped from a van parked nearby.

Police confirmed the reptile belongs to a company that puts on exotic animal demonstrations.

Employees were stopping for lunch in the area, police said, and accidentally let the crocodile get away.

The animal made a break for it as the van’s automatic door was closing.

It crossed Jarry Street near Chateaubriand Avenue and hid under a car, attracting some attention from pedestrians.

Police said employees quickly captured the animal and returned it to the van before officers arrived on the scene. 

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An alligator was spotted crossing a Montreal street – CTV News

December 15th, 2019

MONTREAL — Mayssam Samaha was having a coffee with a friend in central Montreal when she noticed a slow-moving alligator crossing Jarry St. in the middle of Sunday afternoon.

“It took me a few seconds to comprehend what I was seeing then we ran outside – my friend and I – to save or protect the alligator from being squished by cars,” said Samaha.

Someone nearby called 911 right away, and SPVM officers were dispatched.

Samaha said she was never frightened for herself, but nervous about traffic potentially injuring the reptile.

“The alligator seemed very calm,” she said. “He crossed the street and went under a car. I guess he was looking for some warmth… I wasn’t scared. I was more worried for the animal.”

The owner of the animal quickly noticed the gator had escaped and came to retrieve it before officers with the Montreal police (SPVM) arrived on scene.

“He picked him up, and brought him back into his minivan,” said Samaha.

Montreal Mayor Valerie Plante wrote on Twitter that the animal was used for educational presentations, and the owners had all their permits in order.

Samaha is a food and travel blogger and admitted that she has, in the past, tasted the animal she was protecting Sunday.

“A long time ago I had alligator soup, but I wasn’t looking at this one and thinking: ‘Mmmm, soup,” she said with a laugh. “I was more worried.”

Samaha is an animal lover and was happy when the alligator’s owner picked up the animal and put him back.

“It was a bit surprising and shocking to see an alligator crossing the street in Montreal,” said Samaha. 

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Democrats make last-minute pitch to GOP ahead of Trump impeachment vote – Global News

December 15th, 2019

Top Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives made a last-minute pitch to Republicans on Sunday for why they should put partisanship aside and vote to impeach President Donald Trump.

Trump is expected to become the third U.S. president to be impeached when the full Democratic-led House votes on the charges, likely this week, setting up a trial in the Republican-controlled Senate.

READ MORE: ‘Betrayed the nation’: 2 articles of impeachment formally unveiled against Trump

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, speaking on ABC’s “This Week,” warned that Trump poses “a clear and present danger” to democracy.

Schiff and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, speaking on the same show, said lawmakers have a constitutional duty to hold Trump to account for trying to recruit Ukraine to launch a corruption investigation into his Democratic political rival Joe Biden.

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Their comments come as the Democratically-controlled U.S. House is poised later this week to vote along party lines on whether to approve two articles of impeachment. The Republican-controlled Senate has shown little appetite for removing Trump from office.

1:02Lindsey Graham talks goals for Senate impeachment trial, calls House process a ‘crock’

Lindsey Graham talks goals for Senate impeachment trial, calls House process a ‘crock’

“The misconduct hasn’t stopped,” Schiff said, noting that Trump has still urged Ukraine, as well as China, to investigate the Biden family, and that Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani is still traveling to Ukraine to conduct a “sham” investigation.

“The threat to our election integrity … goes on. It’s a clear and present danger, I think, to our democracy and not something that we can turn away from simply because the Republicans in the House refuse to do their duty.”

READ MORE: Here’s what could happen if Trump is impeached

Both Democrats used their air time on Sunday to urge the Senate to call witnesses and seek documentary evidence that they said the White House has withheld.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has raised the prospect of conducting a short Senate impeachment trial without calling any witnesses.

1:27McConnell says two articles of impeachment in House are ‘pretty weak’

McConnell says two articles of impeachment in House are ‘pretty weak’

Nadler on Sunday said such a move would do a disservice to the Senate, whose members will all effectively serve as jurors who will need to weigh the evidence to decide whether Trump should be convicted and removed from office.

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READ MORE: ‘That’s not my thing’: Ukraine’s Zelenskiy speaks out on quid pro quo in new interview

Some of Trump’s staunch Republican defenders in the Senate have already said they believe Trump did nothing wrong, though others have taken a more cautious approach, saying they want to see the evidence first.

During an interview with CNN International at the Doha Forum in Qatar on Saturday, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham dismissed the idea that he should be a “fair juror” and said he does not see the need for a formal trial in the Senate.

2:31U.S. Senators Toomey, Coons discuss having fair impeachment trial

U.S. Senators Toomey, Coons discuss having fair impeachment trial

But Republican Senator Pat Toomey on Sunday said on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” “I think we ought to hear what the House impeachment managers have to say, give the President’s attorneys an opportunity to make their defense, and then make a decision about whether and to what extent we go forward from there.”

Separately this weekend, the Washington Post reported that Rep. Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey, an anti-impeachment Democrat, will soon join the Republican Party.

Trump tweeted in response to the news: “Wow, that would be big. Always heard Jeff is very smart!”

3:15Trump says impeachment an ’embarrassment to our country’

Trump says impeachment an ’embarrassment to our country’

© 2019 Reuters

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Escaped alligator spotted crossing the street in Montreal’s Villeray neighbourhood – CBC.ca

December 15th, 2019

An alligator was spotted crossing Jarry Street East in Montreal on Sunday afternoon, after it escaped from a van parked nearby.

Police confirmed the reptile belongs to a company that puts on exotic animal demonstrations.

Employees were stopping for lunch in the area, police said, and accidentally let the alligator get away.

The animal made a break for it as the van’s automatic door was closing.

It crossed Jarry Street near Chateaubriand Avenue and hid under a car, attracting some attention from pedestrians.

Police said employees quickly captured the animal and returned it to the van before officers arrived on the scene. 

Initially Montreal police identified the animal as a crocodile. It is, in fact, an alligator.

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Defence minister says Canada ‘very fortunate’ to have Vance as defence chief – National Post

December 15th, 2019

OTTAWA — Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan says Canada is “very fortunate” to have someone like Gen. Jonathan Vance leading the Canadian Armed Forces.

The comments come amid questions over whether the Liberal government plans to replace Vance, who was first appointed by Stephen Harper and is now in his fifth year as Canada’s top military general.

Vance’s tenure has coincided with significant new investments in the Canadian Armed Forces, the deployment of troops to Iraq, Mali and Latvia as well as efforts to crackdown on sexual misconduct and increase female recruitment.

Vance has also been accused of being too quick to support controversial decisions by the Liberal government such as its plan to buy Super Hornet fighter jets

Yet he has also faced his share of criticism over the years, including over his decision to suspend Mark Norman in 2017 and the way he handled replacing the now-retired vice-admiral.

Vance has also been accused of being too quick to support controversial decisions by the Liberal government such as its plan to buy Super Hornet fighter jets.

While he won’t say whether Vance will be replaced as the decision is ultimately up to the prime minister, Sajjan tells The Canadian Press that he is “proud” of the general’s work at what has been an important time for the military.

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Jury finds former SNC-Lavalin executive Sami Bebawi guilty on all charges – National Post

December 15th, 2019

MONTREAL — A former SNC-Lavalin executive has been found guilty of paying off foreign officials and pocketing millions as he worked to secure contracts for the Canadian engineering company in Libya.

A jury found Sami Bebawi, 73, guilty Sunday of all five charges he faced, including fraud, corruption of foreign officials and laundering proceeds of crime.

Neither the accused nor his lawyer commented as they left the courtroom.

Federal prosecutor Anne-Marie Manoukian declined to say what sentence she intends to seek when the case returns to court Thursday.

The Crown had said Bebawi was behind a “business model” that involved kickbacks and payoffs to foreign agents to secure lucrative deals for the Montreal-based engineering giant in Libya, beginning in the late 1990s.

The case centred on several major infrastructure projects and dealings with Saadi Gadhafi, one of the sons of late Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi.

Prosecutors presented evidence that SNC-Lavalin transferred about $113 million to shell companies used to pay off people, including Saadi Gadhafi, who helped the company secure deals in Libya.

He denied the allegations, saying the millions were compensation for completing complicated contracts, authorized by the former president of the company, Jacques Lamarre

What remained in the accounts of those firms after the kickbacks were paid was then split between Bebawi and Riadh Ben Aissa, a former colleague, with Bebawi allegedly receiving about $26 million.

Bebawi did not testify, but he denied the allegations through his lawyer in closing arguments, saying the millions were compensation for completing complicated contracts, authorized by the former president of the company, Jacques Lamarre.

Bebawi was the last former SNC-Lavalin employee charged in the aftermath of an RCMP investigation into the company’s dealings in Libya to have his case resolved.

The company and two of its subsidiaries still face charges that they paid nearly $48 million to public officials in Libya between 2001 and 2011 to influence government decisions. The company is also accused of fraud and corruption for allegedly defrauding various Libyan organizations of roughly $130 million.

It was that case that thrust the Montreal company into the centre of a political controversy this year involving the governing Liberals.

The SNC-Lavalin affair revolved around Jody Wilson-Raybould’s claim that as attorney general she was pressured by people in Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s inner circle to settle criminal charges against the company through a new legal tool comparable to a plea deal.

Wilson-Raybould and Jane Philpott were ejected from the Liberal caucus in the aftermath of the allegations, Trudeau’s right-hand man Gerald Butts resigned and Michael Wernick, the country’s top bureaucrat, retired. Trudeau was later found to have violated conflict of ethics rules by intervening in the case.

The case against SNC-Lavalin remains before the courts and is due back before a judge this week.

In the Bebawi case, the Crown had argued the former SNC-Lavalin vice-president was the architect of a scheme that involved greasing the wheels in Libya to secure major contracts.

The Crown’s star witness in the case was Ben Aissa, a former subordinate of Bebawi who later rose to become a company executive.

The Crown argued the company dealt with the younger Gadhafi to facilitate business dealings in Libya, and the alleged kickbacks involved massive contracts won by the Montreal engineering giant for contracts doled out during Gadhafi’s dictatorship.

Among the kickbacks to the younger Gadhafi was a U.S.-made luxury yacht — the Hokulani — purchased for $25 million. He was also photographed in a visit to company headquarters in Montreal.

For its part, the defence claimed that the amounts transferred to Bebawi were legitimate bonuses authorized by the company’s president at the time, Jacques Lamarre.

Bebawi’s attorney argued there was no evidence of any of the contracts secured in Libya being inflated and described the Crown’s key witness — Ben Aissa — as unreliable.

The defence disputed that the younger Gadhafi qualified as a foreign public official, describing him instead as a “spoiled child” who had a direct line to the late dictator but was not able to approve deals himself.

But the jury also heard evidence that Bebawi and his tax lawyer, Constantine Kyres, tried to offer a $10-million bribe to have Ben Aissa change his testimony to torpedo the case against Bebawi. Ben Aissa was detained at the time in Switzerland on Libya-related charges and informed authorities of the bribe.

The RCMP started an operation using an undercover agent during which the $10-million offer evolved into a $4-million “loan” that wouldn’t have to be repaid, an idea that the jury heard came from Bebawi.

Ben Aissa spent 30 months in preventive detention in Switzerland before pleading guilty there to bribing foreign officials and money-laundering stemming from the Libya dealings. He signed an agreement to co-operate with the RCMP before being extradited to Canada.

The jury in the Bebawi case did not hear that obstruction of justice charges against Bebawi and Kyres related to the alleged bribe were dropped earlier this year after the Crown took too long to bring the case to trial.

In February, Stephane Roy, another former executive charged in relation to company dealings in Libya, received a stay of proceedings due to unreasonable delays in bringing his case to trial.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 15, 2019.

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