Kitchener-Waterloo

Liberal MP Marwan Tabbara facing assault, criminal harassment charges to make next court appearance in August

Marwan Tabbara, the MP for Kitchener South-Hespeler, is accused of assault and criminal harassment. He will next appear in Guelph court at the end of August.

Tabbara had previously been subject of Liberal Party investigation, CBC News has learned

MP Marwan Tabbara is pictured canvassing houses during while running as a candidate in the 2019 federal election. Tabbara is expected to make his next court appearance at the end of August. (Facebook)

Marwan Tabbara, the Liberal member of Parliament accused of assault and criminal harassment, will be back in a Guelph courtroom at the end of August.

On a Friday morning audio call, Ontario Court of Justice Judge Lorelei Amlin adjourned the matter until August 28. Tabbara's voice was not heard on the call. 

Tabbara was first elected as a Liberal MP for Kitchener South-Hespeler in 2015. He was approved to run for a second time in the 2019 federal election despite a party investigation into allegations of sexual harassment made against him during his last mandate, CBC News has learned.

In April of this year, Tabbara was arrested by officers with the Guelph Police Service and charged with two counts of assault, one count of break and enter and committing an indictable offence and one count of criminal harassment.

Police have defended their decision not to publicize the arrest, saying they did not believe Tabbara posed a significant risk to the public.  

Trudeau 'disappointed' he wasn't told sooner

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he and his office only learned about the criminal charges the day the news of Tabbara's arrest broke on June 5.

Speaking to reporters Friday, Trudeau said there is "apparently" a rule in the Standing Orders of the House of Commons that, if a Member of Parliament is arrested, either the speaker or the House must be informed.

"That rule has apparently not been followed or applied much over the past years — I think there's perhaps a reflection that that is something we can look into," Trudeau said during his daily briefing. 

"It is certainly disappointing as a party leader that the individual in question never chose to inform the party of which he was a part of these charges."

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says that, as leader of the Liberal Party, he is informed about investigations of allegations against caucus members — but he isn't saying if he knew about the sexual harassment allegation against MP Marwan Tabbara before he was approved to run in the 2019 federal election, despite pointing to "a rigorous process" being established to ensure "every single allegation or complaint" is dealt with. 5:25

Tabbara is still serving as an MP but has stepped away from the Liberal caucus. In a statement, Tabbara said he is seeking counselling for anxiety and depression and will not comment on the charges against him while the matter is before the court.

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