• A for­mer SNC-Lavalin ex­ec­u­tive and a Mon­treal lawyer will not stand trial on charges al­leg­ing they tam­pered with a wit­ness in the RCMP in­ves­ti­ga­tion into whether the en­gi­neer­ing firm bribed Libyan gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials.Sami Ab­del­lah Be­bawi, a for­mer ex­ec­u­tive vice-pres­i­dent of Lavalin, and his tax lawyer, Con­stan­tine Kyres, were charged in 2014 with ob­struct­ing jus­tice.On Fri­day, Su­pe­rior Court Jus­tice Guy Cournoyer ruled that both men have waited too long for their case to be brought to trial and stayed the charges.“The file seemed to have been aban­doned like a ship without a cap­tain,” Cournoyer said, crit­i­ciz­ing the Crown for fail­ing to ex­plain the de­lays.Cournoyer noted that the Crown was un­able to ex­plain why noth­ing hap­pened on the file for 11 months even though the Supreme Court of Canada had just ruled at the time, in 2016, that long de­lays in crim­i­nal cases where no longer ac­cept­able.Cournoyer pointed out that the Supreme Court’s de­ci­sion was made 30 months ago, the same time limit the court set in 2016 for Su­pe­rior Court cases to be dealt with. The judge said it was “frus­trat­ing” to see that the Supreme Court’s Jor­dan rul­ing changed noth­ing in terms of the Crown’s at­ti­tude to­ward the file.Be­bawi is still fac­ing charges of fraud and bribery in­volv­ing Libyan of­fi­cials in the gov­ern­ment of the late Libyan dic­ta­tor Moam­mar Gad­hafi.That case stems from the same Project As­sis­tance in­ves­ti­ga­tion that led to charges against SNC-Lavalin. Those charges con­tinue to fuel con­tro­versy in Ot­tawa fol­low­ing a re­port that the Prime Min­is­ter’s Of­fice pres­sured for­mer at­tor­ney gen­eral Jody Wil­son-Ray­bould to help the com­pany avoid crim­i­nal pros­e­cu­tion.Af­ter the court rul­ing Fri­day, Be­bawi and Kyres de­clined to com­ment.Frank Pap­pas, Kyres’s lawyer, said he was “very sat­is­fied” with the de­ci­sion.“It has been a walk through the desert for me and my col­leagues,” Pap­pas said in ref­er­ence to the other de­fence at­tor­neys in the case.He ar­gued that the case should have been con­sid­ered closed last year, af­ter a judge ruled that the RCMP ob­tained ev­i­dence in the case il­le­gally.“The Crown replied (to that rul­ing) with a nu­clear at­tack (by at­tempt­ing to pro­ceed on a pre­ferred in­dict­ment),” Pap­pas said. “We are sat­is­fied that jus­tice was de­liv­ered.The mo­tion filed by Kyres’s lawyer noted that his client was first ar­rested more than five years ago, on Jan. 8, 2014. Kyres’s first court date was then pushed back three times un­til he and Be­bawi were fi­nally charged on Sept 18, 2014.Based on his cal­cu­la­tions, Pap­pas ar­gued his client had waited more than 62 months for his case to go to trial. That is more than dou­ble the limit set by the Supreme Court.Crown prose­cu­tor Benoit Robert said there has been no de­ci­sion on an ap­peal.

© PressReader. All rights reserved.