Gas plant defence says 2 former McGuinty advisers 'ought to be acquitted'
David Livingston and Laura Miller's lawyers seek directed verdict of acquittal in gas plant trial
Defence lawyers in the gas plant trial of two top advisers to former Ontario premier Dalton McGuinty are pushing a directed verdict of acquittal, saying the accused Liberals are not guilty of wiping documents before 2013.
Counsel for senior aides David Livingston and Laura Miller, who are accused of destroying government documents and computer files about the Liberal government's billion-dollar cancellation of two gas-fired power plants just before the 2011 provincial election, told CBC News Tuesday they have bid to have the charges thrown out before they present a defence.
- IT consultant allegedly hired to wipe hard drives testifies at gas plant trial
Livingston, McGuinty's last chief of staff before his resignation, and Miller, his deputy chief of staff, have both pleaded not guilty to breach of trust, mischief and unlawful use of a computer.
"It's our position that the Crown has failed to lead some evidence in connection with the essential elements of each of those three offences," said Livingston's lawyer Brian Gover.
"They ought to be acquitted."
Gover said the Crown implied earlier in trial that some charges could be dropped.
"There was an indication that the Crown is assessing its case and in context that means it's considering withdrawing one or more of the three charges," he said, but wouldn't pinpoint which ones.
2nd corruption trial
This is the second corruption trial this year involving provincial Liberals. Last week, the defence in the Sudbury byelection bribery trial asked the judge to immediately find the two accused Liberals not guilty with what's known as a directed verdict. A judge threw out the charges against Premier Kathleen Wynne's former deputy chief of staff, Pat Sorbara, and Liberal fundraiser Gerry Lougheed Jr. ruling there wasn't enough evidence to continue.
But Gover said it's just a "coincidence" he is seeking the same form of aquittal.
"This type of motion is on the minds of every defence lawyer of this stage of a criminal case," he said. "It's our job to constantly assess the evidence that's being led."
The motion for a directed verdict is expected to be argued Friday. Justice Timothy Lipson will deliver his decision next Tuesday.
With files from Radio-Canada's Jean-Philippe Nadeau