Charges with­drawn

Crown drops charges of mu­nic­i­pal cor­rup­tion against for­mer Tim­mins Coun. Rick Dubeau

The Daily Press (Timmins) - - FRONT PAGE - RON GRECH

Crim­i­nal charges against for­mer Tim­mins Coun. Rick Dubeau have been with­drawn.

Dubeau had been ac­cused of mu­nic­i­pal cor­rup­tion and breach of trust by a pub­lic of­fi­cer.

At the Crown’s re­quest, both charges were with­drawn by Judge Cindy Mac­Don­ald in the On­tario Su­pe­rior Court of Jus­tice in Tim­mins Fri­day af­ter­noon.

The charges stemmed from the fact Dubeau had ap­proached Gold­corp about pur­chas­ing his prop­erty in Schu­macher.

Dubeau was a city coun­cil­lor at the time, but he was also among a group of res­i­dents who had con­cerns about the ef­fect Gold­corp’s min­ing op­er­a­tion would have on prop­erty val­ues. The res­i­dents were dis­cussing the idea of ini­ti­at­ing a class ac­tion suit.

In order to gain a con­vic­tion, the Crown would have had to con­vince a jury Dubeau ap­proached Gold­corp as a mem­ber of city council.

If the mat­ter had gone to trial, the de­fence would have ar­gued Dubeau met with Gold­corp as a cit­i­zen and the in­di­vid­ual most likely to lead the charge for a class ac­tion suit.

On Fri­day, As­sis­tant Crown At­tor­ney Wayne O’Han­ley pre­sented an ap­pli­ca­tion to the court to with­draw the charges on the ba­sis there was no rea­son­able prospect for a con­vic­tion.

Dubeau was seated in the au­di­ence of the court­room with his wife Gilda and half a dozen other fam­ily mem­bers fill­ing the first two rows be­hind where the de­fence lawyers were seated.

At the con­clu­sion of the pro­ceed­ings, Gilda, her eyes welling with tears, stood up and hugged her hus­band while the other fam­ily mem­bers shook Dubeau’s hand and con­grat­u­lated him.

Speak­ing out­side the court­room af­ter­wards, Dubeau read from a pre­pared state­ment, “This has been a very try­ing time for me and my fam­ily. I al­ways had faith in the crim­i­nal jus­tice sys­tem. We’re re­lieved the process is over. I al­ways felt this issue was the re­sult of a mis­un­der­stand­ing.

“Let me be clear, at no time did I of­fer my sup­port as a coun­cil­lor to Gold­corp.

“I would like to thank ev­ery­one for their sup­port; most no­tably we’d like to thank our lawyers Luc Maison­neuve and Ben Dawkins for their moral sup­port and hard work in de­vel­op­ing an in­cred­i­ble case for my de­fence that has re­sulted in all the charges be­ing with­drawn.”

Dubeau, who had main­tained his in­no­cence from the time he was charged in Septem­ber 2017, said he felt vin­di­cated by the Crown’s decision to with­draw the charges.

“Most def­i­nitely,” he told The Daily Press. “Ob­vi­ously, I wouldn’t have gone this far with the case if I didn’t feel I would be vin­di­cated in the end. I wouldn’t have run for re­elec­tion if I didn’t feel I was in­no­cent of all charges.

“And if it had gone to court, we were con­fi­dent that’s what would have been the ver­dict.”

Dubeau ran for re- elec­tion in Oc­to­ber with crim­i­nal charges still hang­ing over him, the mat­ter un­re­solved.

Asked if he sub­scribed to a view ex­pressed by many of Dubeau’s sup­port­ers on so­cial me­dia, that there were po­lit­i­cal in­flu­ences which led po­lice to lay these charges, Dubeau replied, “I can’t speak to that. All I know is that you see the re­sults, you see what hap­pened ( in court), and you heard what the Crown had to say.

“As to the con­ver­sa­tion, I’m stunned I was charged in the first place and it got to this.”

The Crown’s case in­cluded an 18- minute record­ing of a con­ver­sa­tion Dubeau had with two lo­cal Gold­corp man­agers in Au­gust 2017.

The dis­cus­sion cen­tred on a class ac­tion law­suit which Dubeau sug­gested was un­likely to move for­ward with­out his lead­er­ship. If Gold­corp was will­ing to pur­chase his res­i­den­tial prop­erty “at a premium,” Dubeau of­fered to “back off.”

“I can be an ally go­ing for­ward or I can be a real pain in the ass,” Dubeau is heard say­ing on the tape which was recorded openly by one of the two Gold­corp rep­re­sen­ta­tives.

The record­ing was played in its en­tirety dur­ing the preliminary hear­ing held last April.

At one point, Dubeau was asked di­rectly on the record­ing if he would be “more in sup­port … as a coun­cil­lor” of the open mine pit project “if we buy your house?”

“No, I didn’t say that,” Dubeau is heard re­ply­ing.

Speak­ing to The Daily Press out­side the court­room on Fri­day, Dubeau said, “I men­tioned sev­eral times ( dur­ing his con­ver­sa­tion with Gold­corp) I was there as a tax­payer. The one time that they asked me would I pro­vide ex­tra sup­port for the project if we buy your house, and I said no. When I had the one chance to an­swer a di­rect ques­tion, I said no.

“Then Gold­corp kept ask­ing the same ques­tions over and over again in a dif­fer­ent man­ner.”

Maison­neuve ex­plained in court Dubeau wanted Gold­corp to pur­chase his prop­erty at a price above mar­ket value only be­cause the land value had dropped due to min­ing ac­tiv­ity in the area. Maison­neuve said Dubeau was merely try­ing to “re­coup” that loss.

O’Han­ley con­ceded there was uncer­tainty in the minds of the Gold­corp rep­re­sen­ta­tives whether Dubeau’s of­fer to be an “ally” was in his ca­pac­ity as a city coun­cil­lor or a cit­i­zen.

O’Han­ley said they sub­se­quently in­formed Gold­corp’s in- house le­gal coun­sel who rec­om­mended con­tact­ing the mayor’s of­fice which in turn con­tacted the Tim­mins Po­lice Ser­vice which then turned the mat­ter over to the Sault Ste. Marie po­lice in an ef­fort to en­sure ob­jec­tiv­ity dur­ing the in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

For­mer Mayor Steve Black reached out to the Daily Press stat­ing that he in fact was not the one who con­tacted the po­lice.

“Dave Landers ( the city’s chief ad­min­is­tra­tor) and I went to our le­gal coun­sel and they han­dled dis­cus­sions with Gold­corp and the po­lice,” he told The Daily Press

With the charges now be­hind him, Dubeau was asked if he plans to re­sume his po­lit­i­cal in­volve­ment in the com­mu­nity as he had in the past.

“I still be­lieve very strongly in the City of Tim­mins,” he said. “Any­thing I can do to help make our city bet­ter, I will al­ways be in­volved in some way, shape or form — it’s just to be de­ter­mined, yet.”

RON GRECH/ THE DAILY PRESS

For­mer city coun­cil­lor Rick Dubeau smiles out­side the On­tario Su­pe­rior Court of Jus­tice in Tim­mins Fri­day af­ter­noon after hav­ing charges of mu­nic­i­pal cor­rup­tion and breach of trust by a pub­lic of­fi­cer with­drawn.

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