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April 25, 2005
More Publication Bans In Gomery Inquiry

The Gomery Inquiry has imposed new publication bans, as expected, on upcoming testimony into its investigation of corruption and money laundering in the Sponsorship Program. Chuck Guit and Paul Coffin will testify shortly, after Gomery hears from some other figures associated with Adscam:

The Gomery Commission is scheduled to go after some big game in its hunt for the perpetrators of the federal sponsorship scandal, and once again it will have to go undercover.

A temporary publication ban will shroud the testimony of long-awaited witnesses Charles (Chuck) Guite and Paul Coffin. ...

Because their trials, beginning in June, will follow their Gomery appearances so closely, the testimony by Coffin and Guite will fall under a temporary publication ban imposed this month for commission witnesses who also face criminal trials in the near future.

After each completes his testimony, Gomery will rule on what parts of it can be broadcast, and what parts must remain under ban so as not to prejudice the witnesses' right to a fair trial.

A similar ban was applied this month to the testimony of former Groupaction agency owner Jean Brault, also charged with fraud and conspiracy, and it proved an imperfect instrument.

That's putting it mildly. Gomery's publication ban only applied, of course, to rebroadcasting the specifics of Jean Brault's testimony. If one was either fortunate or well-connected, seats were available for the public hearing in which Brault testified to accepting and making bribes and kickbacks in exchange for contract renewals, as well as hiring Liberal Party workers who never performed any work at all for Brault -- but spent their time on party business, off the books.

Politicians will know the specific testimony of the two witnesses at the end of each day, if not almost in real time. Some media sources will watch and hear Guit and Coffin tell everything they know about Adscam and the politicians who profited most from it on live TV feeds that they will be barred from rebroadcast. The only people left in the dark will be those Canadians who have seen their money stolen by the people they trusted to wield power lawfully.

As part of the 'imperfection' mentioned tangentially in the Montreal Gazette, I had hoped that the brouhaha over my publication of Brault's testimony would have convinced Justice Gomery of the folly of publication bans. Apparently not. If my original source can get me reliable information on the testimony under the ban, I will republish it again here.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at April 25, 2005 6:20 AM

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