News Provincial

Acquit Liberals of bribery mid-trial: Lawyers

The Canadian Press

Pat Sorbara and Gerry Lougheed are on trial in Sudbury (Canadian Press)

Pat Sorbara and Gerry Lougheed are on trial in Sudbury (Canadian Press)

SUDBURY - 

Lawyers representing two Ontario Liberals charged with Election Act bribery offences argue the prosecution has failed to prove its case and their clients should be acquitted mid-trial.

The lawyers have filed written arguments for the directed verdict application that’s set to be heard Oct. 10 in Sudbury, before the defence has even called any witnesses.

The two Liberals on trial are accused of offering would-be candidate Andrew Olivier a job or appointment to step aside for Premier Kathleen Wynne’s preferred candidate.

Pat Sorbara, who was Wynne’s deputy chief of staff and Liberal campaign director, and local Liberal fundraiser Gerry Lougheed have pleaded not guilty.

The lawyers argue that what is at issue in this case is the internal Liberal party process, which is not governed by the Election Act.

They say that by the time Sorbara and Lougheed spoke to Olivier, Wynne had already decided she would appoint Glenn Thibeault as the candidate, so there would be no contested nomination process, and therefore nothing to dissuade Olivier from participating in.