Sec­ond ex-Lavalin ex­ec­u­tive has charges stayed

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• The for­mer SNC-Lavalin vice-pres­i­dent ac­cused of brib­ing a Libyan of­fi­cial to se­cure con­tracts in the war-torn coun­try must be “pre­sumed un­til the end of his days” after a judge ended the case, his de­fence lawyer says.Que­bec court Judge Pa­tri­cia Com­pagnone stayed pro­ceed­ings against Stéphane Roy Tues­day, rul­ing the pros­e­cu­tion took too long get­ting the case to trial.She said the de­lays cre­ated by the pros­e­cu­tion “are an ex­am­ple of the cul­ture of com­pla­cency that was de­plored by the Supreme Court” in a 2016 rul­ing known as the Jor­dan de­ci­sion.Roy was charged in 2014 with fraud, brib­ing a for­eign of­fi­cial and vi­o­lat­ing United Na­tions sanc­tions against Libya in con­nec­tion with SNC-Lavalin’s op­er­a­tions in that coun­try dur­ing the regime of the late dic­ta­tor Moam­mar Gad­hafi. The third charge was later dropped.Roy’s lawyers ar­gued the de­lay — it has been around 60 months since Roy was in- itially charged, and his trial was not sched­uled to be­gin un­til late spring — vi­o­lated his right to a speedy trial.Com­pagnone agreed, rul­ing that the al­lowed time, es­tab­lished by the Supreme Court in the Jor­dan rul­ing, had been ex­ceeded and ordering a stay of pro­ceed­ings.The Jor­dan rul­ing re­quires cases with a pre­lim­i­nary hear­ing to go to trial within 30 months, bar­ring ex­cep­tional cir­cum­stances. De­lays ini­ti­ated by the de­fence do not count to­ward the to­tal.Com­pagnone said it was up to the Crown pros­e­cu­tors to jus­tify the de­lays and that they did not do so.“I’m very happy it’s fin­ished,” Roy said after the hear­ing, “and I can re­sume my life.”Nel­lie Benoît, Roy’s lawyer, said only that Roy must be pre­sumed in­no­cent as he has not been proven guilty.“A trial is the oc­ca­sion for the state to prove some­one is guilty and also for an ac­cused to prove he is not guilty,” Benoît said. “When there is a stay of pro­ceed­ings, we will never have that de­ci­sion, so Mr. Roy must be pre­sumed in­no­cent un­til the end of his days.”His case stemmed from the same RCMP in­ves­ti­ga­tion that led to charges against SNC-Lavalin it­self. Those charges are fu­elling con­tro­versy in Ot­tawa fol­low­ing a news­pa­per re­port that the Prime Min­is­ter’s Of­fice pres­sured for­mer at­tor­ney gen­eral Jody Wil­son-Ray­bould to help the Que­bec engi­neer­ing firm avoid pros­e­cu­tion.An RCMP af­fi­davit filed in re­la­tion to the in­ves­ti­ga­tion al­leged that Roy was in­volved in a plot to smug­gle Gad­hafi’s son, Saadi, and his fam­ily into Mex­ico as the Libyan regime was fall­ing in 2011.Roy was a vice-pres­i­dent and con­troller at the em­bat­tled engi­neer­ing gi­ant be­fore be­ing fired in Fe­bru­ary 2012. He was ac­quit­ted in July 2018 of fraud-re­lated charges in con­nec­tion with the con­struc­tion of the McGill Univer­sity Health Cen­tre.Crown pros­e­cu­tor Fred­eric Hivon had lit­tle to say after the rul­ing. Asked about an ap­peal, he replied: “We will take the time to an­a­lyze the de­ci­sion.”It’s the sec­ond time a judge has tossed out a case against a Lavalin ex­ec­u­tive for tak­ing too long to bring it to trial.Last week, Sami Be­bawi, a for­mer SNC-Lavalin ex­ec­u­tive vice-pres­i­dent, and his Mon­treal-based tax lawyer, Con­stan­tine Kyres, had ob­struc­tion of jus­tice charges against them stayed.They had been ac­cused of of­fer­ing a $10-mil­lion bribe to have a key wit­ness change his tes­ti­mony in a fraud and cor­rup­tion case against Be­bawi. The al­leged re­cip­i­ent of the of­fer was Ri­adh Ben Aissa, an­other for­mer SNCLavalin ex­ec­u­tive, who was de­tained in Switzer­land at the time on charges of cor­rupt­ing of­fi­cials in Libya on be­half of Lavalin.After Be­bawi found out he was be­ing in­ves­ti­gated, he al­legedly asked Kyres to travel to Switzer­land and of­fer to pay off Ben Aissa, Su­pe­rior Court Jus­tice Guy Cournoyer Court wrote in a sum­mary of the ob­struc­tion case. In ex­change, Be­bawi wanted Ben Aissa to of­fer au­thor­i­ties a ver­sion of events that would ex­on­er­ate him.Be­bawi and Kyres were charged with ob­struc­tion of jus­tice in 2014. A stay of pro­ceed­ings was first is­sued in Fe­bru­ary 2018 after ev­i­dence was ruled in­ad­mis­si­ble, but the charges were re­in­stated by di­rect in­dict­ment last May.Be­bawi is still fac­ing trial on charges of fraud and bribery of a Libyan pub­lic of­fi­cial.

For­mer SNC-Lavalin VP Stephane Roy leaves court in Mon­treal Tues­day after charges were stayed against him. RYAN REMIORZ / THE CANA­DIAN PRESS

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