Crown prosecutor wants hard evidence that Arthur Porter is dead
Crown officials in Quebec are seeking official documents and corroborative evidence that Arthur Porter, accused of fraud in Montreal’s $1.3-billion megahospital project, is really dead.
Without such evidence, the fraud charges against Porter will stand, Crown prosecutor Marie-Helene Giroux said in an interview Thursday.
“I am waiting for official confirmation,’’ she told The Canadian Press. “Until then, for me, the file is not closed.’’
Porter’s biographer, Jeff Todd, published a statement Wednesday to say Porter’s doctor confirmed his patient had succumbed to cancer in Panama, where he had been detained since May 2013 as he fought extradition to Canada.
On Thursday, Todd published a second statement, reportedly from Porter’s family, confirming the death.
“We remember a man of incomparable intellect, wit, charm and integrity whose focus was always on providing the best care he could for his patients,’’ it said. “He achieved more in his 59 years than most even dream to accomplish in a lifetime.’’
Giroux said a post on a website is “really not enough.’’
She added her office has started preparing an official request to receive proof of Porter’s passing, such as a death certificate signed by a doctor.
Porter used to be one of the most highly respected doctors in the country.
He published hundreds of research articles in medical journals and pioneered concepts in radiation therapy.
In 2004 he was appointed director general of the McGill University Health Care Centre in Montreal and led the project to build a so-called superhospital near the city’s downtown core.
The Crown alleges Porter received part of a $22.5-million payment from Montreal-based engineering giant SNC-Lavalin in order to fix the call for tenders to ensure the firm received the lucrative contract.
Porter’s wife, Pamela Porter, was sentenced in December to 33 months in prison after she pleaded guilty to two counts of money laundering in connection with her husband’s case.
She was given a conditional release from prison on June 10.
The other people accused in the bribery and fraud case are awaiting trial.
Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard, who founded a medical-related company with Porter in 2010 before his return to politics, was asked Thursday about the reports of the death.
“My only comment...is this is a sad ending for a very sad story,’’ he told a news conference in Roberval, Que.
Couillard has said the company conducted no business and that there were no financial statements before it dissolved in 2012.
In this photo taken Saturday, March 2, 2013, Dr. Arthur Porter speaks with a reporter at his home in Nassau, Bahamas. Porter — a cancer specialist who was facing fraud charges related to a $1.3-billion hospital project in Montreal — has died, his biographer says.