Calgary

Aftergood found guilty under election act

David Aftergood, a key figure in a municipal election scandal, was found guilty in a Calgary courtroom Tuesday of violating the act covering local elections.

David Aftergood, a key figure in a municipal election scandal, was found guilty in a Calgary courtroom Tuesday of violating the act covering local elections.

Provincial court Judge Terry Semenuk ruled that Aftergood was guilty of supplying a ballot to another person under the Local Authorities Election Act. At the time, Aftergood's wife, Margot Aftergood, was a candidate to become councillor for Calgary Ward 10.

However, the judge decided that Aftergood was not guilty on a second charge of requesting a special ballot for someone else.

The city received more than 1,200 internet requests for ballots in Ward 10 just before the last municipal election in October 2004.

Those requests all came from two computers and asked the city to send mail-in ballots to the same postal box in a northeast Calgary strip mall.

At the time, Margot Aftergood said the postal box had been rented by her husband, but that they'd done nothing wrong. She said they had simply taken requests from people in the community and obtained ballots on their behalf, passing them along to the voters.

Aftergood was elected by 138 votes but resigned a month later after the city agreed to pay 60 per cent of her legal costs.

The judge is to hand down Aftergood's sentence at the end of next week.

Crown lawyer Peter Mackenzie is arguing for a fine of between $4,000 and $5,000, or even up to 30 days in jail, as a deterrent.

However, Aftergood's attorney, Alain Hepner, said a fine similar to those already handed down to others involved in the scandal would be sufficient.

In total, five people were charged under the elections act after the election. Two of them, Anh Pham and Thanh Pham, are still before the courts.

David Aftergood's brother Ron, who was the campaign manager, and campaign volunteer Son Nguyen earlier pleaded guilty to one count each under the Local Authorities Election Act and were fined $4,000 and $1,500 respectively.

Update: David Aftergood was sentenced to 14 days in jail in May 2007 but never served the sentence, because upon appeal, he was granted a new trial and the charge against him was stayed in January 2010. The Pham brothers were found not guilty in May 2007.