Live blog recap

'Covert, shocking': Mike Duffy cleared on all charges as judge slams Harper PMO

Justice Charles Vaillancourt has dismissed all 31 charges Mike Duffy faced in his fraud, breach of trust and bribery trial. Read a recap of our live blog for reaction from all the key players in the saga.

Follow CBCnews.ca's live coverage of reaction to Judge Charles Vaillancourt's decision at the courthouse

Senator Mike Duffy and his wife leave the Ottawa Courthouse after being found Not Guilty of all 31 fraud charges. 1:21

Justice Charles Vaillancourt dismissed every charge related to Mike Duffy's residency, travel claims and expense contracting. The Crown has failed to get a single conviction for fraud, breach of trust or bribery.

The judge wrapped up his 308-page decision by making it abundantly clear the Crown failed to make its case on the bribery charges related to the $90,000 cheque from Stephen Harper's former chief of staff, Nigel Wright.

The actions of Harper's staff got a colourful condemnation from the bench. "'Could Hollywood match their creativity?" the judge asked. "It is interesting that no one suggested doing the legal thing."

Vaillancourt called the senator a "credible witness," whose conduct was "reasonable and honest," acting on the advice of then-prime minister Stephen Harper's office. In the absence of clear Senate rules, "the only evidence is exculpatory," the judge said.

Senator Mike Duffy's lawyer, Donald Bayne, speaks to reporters after the embattled Senator was cleared of all 31 fraud charges against him. 2:55

Duffy's travel claims had no financial motive, "no sinister motive" and "no criminal intent," the judge said.

The senator's contract arrangement with friend Gerald Donohue to pay for things like speech writing and make-up services was not akin to a slush fund, the judge continued after a lunch break. There was no evidence of kickbacks or phoney invoices and it was not an attempt to skirt Senate oversight, the judge found. Duffy acted "in good faith."

Read a recap of our live blog below.

(Can't see the live blogFollow it here.)

Mobile users: View the document
(PDF KB)
(Text KB)
CBC is not responsible for 3rd party content

Corrections

  • An earlier version of this story mistakenly attributed the term "Hollywood deviousness" to Justice Vaillancourt in reference to the PMO. In fact, he said "Hollywood creativity."
    Apr 21, 2016 7:07 PM ET