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Charges flawed: Defence

Convicting Mayor Larry O’Brien of influencing or pretending toinfluence a political appointment would have “absurd and preposterousresults” for Canadian politicians, a member of O’Brien’s defence teamargued yesterday.

Convicting Mayor Larry O’Brien of influencing or pretending to influence a political appointment would have “absurd and preposterous results” for Canadian politicians, a member of O’Brien’s defence team argued yesterday.

In an outline of the defence’s verdict application, David Paciocco, a University of Ottawa law professor, told Judge Douglas Cunningham that political advantage is too “ephemeral” to be considered a reward.

“Even if (the Crown) managed to establish everything they set out to prove, no conviction can emanate on these charges,” he said. “The terms reward, benefit or advantage of any kind cannot be interpreted literally. It would lead to absurd and preposterous results.”

O’Brien is facing two criminal charges relating to allegations that he attempted to secure an appointment to the National Parole Board for Terry Kilrea, in exchange for Kilrea dropping out of the 2006 mayoral campaign.

The reality, Paciocco said, is that since the inception of the nation, political appointments have been made and discussed on countless occasions in exchange for political reasons.

“If negotiating with someone, or offering someone an appointment in exchange for political advantage is a criminal offence, we will be declaring the conduct of many honourable members and indeed prime ministers of this country criminal,” he said.

Paciocco said it would be pointless for it to be criminal for “Larry and Moe to argue what position Curly’s going to get in the event that Larry and Moe might someday fall into power.”

Paciocco said the defence team has arranged for testimony from an expert witness to reveal, and they have a pile of documents over a foot high that would support their position.

Crown attorney Scott Hutchison said he believes that in this case, political advantage could be considered a reward or benefit, but he had no quarrel with the defence argument.

The trial resumes Monday.

 
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