Crown pros­e­cu­tor wants hard ev­i­dence that Arthur Porter is dead

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - CANADA - THE CANA­DIAN PRESS

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.

AP PHOTO

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.

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