Whatever trial verdict, public has own views
With Ontario Court Judge Timothy Lipson ruling Thursday that the trial of two senior political aides to former Ontario premier Dalton McGuinty in connection with the gas plants scandal will continue, some perspective is in order.
Whether David Livingston and Laura Miller are guilty on the remaining charges they face of attempting to commit mischief (which Lipson downgraded from mischief ) and illegal use of a computer, regarding the destruction of government documents, is the judge’s decision.
The Crown previously withdrew the most serious charge, breach of trust, saying there was no reasonable prospect of conviction.
Lipson rejected a defence motion calling for a directed verdict on the remaining charges — similar to what happened in the Sudbury by-election bribery trial. In that case, the defence motion was successful.
In this case, Lipson said there’s enough evidence to suggest it’s possible the defendants are guilty of the charges.
This doesn’t mean Livingston and Miller will automatically be convicted, just that the case against them can proceed.
That said, Ontarians have a right to expect a higher standard of conduct from their government than that senior Ontario Liberals are not convicted of breaking the law.
The voters will get to deliver their verdict in the June election.”
The standard of proof in these trials, where the liberty of the accused is at stake, is “proof beyond a reasonable doubt.” It is rightly set high to protect the innocent.
But it in no way, including in the absence of convictions, prevents anyone from having and expressing an opinion about how our Liberal government behaved in both these cases.
In our view, the actions of Ontario’s Liberal government over two administrations pertaining to the gas plants and Sudbury by-election controversies were appalling.
They were the antithesis of every promise the Liberals made in their 14 years in power to run an open and transparent government, and to spend our money wisely and judiciously.
The guilt or innocence of the accused is up to the courts.
Whether what the Liberals did was wrong is up to the public to decide, and the voters will get to deliver their verdict in the June election.