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April 3, 2005
Adscam Trial Delay May End Publication Ban

Canada's Sponsorship Program scandal, called Adscam north of the border, may result in snap elections. At first, this was thought to support the Liberal Party, the undeniable if temporary beneficiary of Judge Gomery's publication ban on key testimony at the Adscam hearings, and for good reason. However, lawyers for Jean Brault now want to delay his upcoming May trial to the fall -- and since the proximity of Brault's trial to his Gomery testimony caused Gomery to impose the ban, a significant delay might force Gomery to lift it. If so, the Liberals could face an enraged Canadian electorate much sooner than planned:

Explosive new testimony at the Gomery commission has created a buzz in Ottawa that the opposition could force a quick election on a Liberal government damaged by the sponsorship scandal. ...

Charged on six counts relating to the way his agency handled five federal contracts, Mr. Brault was slated to have a jury trial beginning on May 2.

Yesterday, however, appearing at a prehearing conference, his lawyer, Harvey Yarosky, told Quebec Superior Court Justice Lise Ct that his legal team was so bogged down by the inquiry that it needs a trial deferment.

Judge Ct said she will announce on Wednesday morning whether the trial will be rescheduled.

The prosecution opposed the request, saying that delaying the trial for four months could lead to the end of the publication ban on Mr. Brault's current testimony at the Gomery inquest.

Crown attorney Jacques Dagenais argued that a postponement would void a key reason Judge Gomery imposed a temporary blackout at his inquiry: the proximity of Mr. Brault's testimony to a trial scheduled for May 2.

Of course, the Liberals would prefer that both the ban and the deferment stay in effect, giving them several months before Brault's explosive testimony can be used in public. That could create a window for them to hold an election and solidify their grip on power in order to withstand the political shockwaves once the record opens on Brault. Any other combination, however, means that the testimony comes out into the open before the Liberals can hold a self-preserving election, unless they can pull one off in April.

Besides, the point may be mostly moot. We published an account of Brault's testimony yesterday and will continue to do so if we can get more information from our source(s) in Canada. Others will follow, and the ill-advised publication ban will collapse under its own weight, exposing the wrongdoers in the Canadian government and allowing Canadians to have the information necessary to make an intelligent decision about their leadership.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at April 3, 2005 9:38 AM

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» End of the publication ban? from Angry in the Great White North
If Jean Brault's get a delay for the criminal proceedings, the justification for the publication ban disappears. If the ban is lifted, the Liberals will be in for a world of hurt. [Read More]

Tracked on April 3, 2005 10:44 AM

» CQ Get CTVdotted from The Politicker
Captain's Quarters, one of my favorite blogs, posted less than a day ago on something known as the Adscam scandal in Canada. Basically, the allegations go that the ruling Liberal party has ben funnelling off tens of millions of dollars... [Read More]

Tracked on April 4, 2005 12:01 AM

» 'What made a bunch of American conservatives sudden experts on Canadian politics?' from Tall, Dark, and Mysterious
Rivka at Respectful of Otters says pretty much what I was thinking about the American bloggers who posted the details of the Gomery Inquiry that were withheld by Canada's Orwellian, free-speech-hating, communist government. Except not really, because w... [Read More]

Tracked on April 11, 2005 9:49 PM

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