During some of the lowest points of his three-month trial, Mayor Larry O’Brien would get a lift from Ottawa residents who would approach him on the street, shake his hand and offer their support.
“Anytime I was starting to get a little down, the people of Ottawa really came across with lots of kindness,” said O’Brien, who was greeted with a round of applause as he exited the courtroom, shortly after Judge Douglas Cunningham dismissed the two criminal code charges against him yesterday.
“I just wanted to thank many of my colleagues and many of the people of Ottawa for their support and encouragement. I will never forget that in my life.”
O’Brien said he didn’t allow himself to interpret the outcome as positive until more than halfway through Cunningham’s hour-long reading of his decision, but as he got closer to the end, O’Brien could literally feel a weight lifted off of him and his family members.
Following the verdict, O’Brien said he is going to savour the feeling and is looking forward to getting back to work.
After three months away from city hall, he said there are many issues to get caught up on, like securing funding for the rapid transit network and the redevelopment of Lansdowne Park.
However, O’Brien said he’s unsure how things will go now that the criminal code charges are behind him.
“Going through something like this is a bit of a life-changing event in terms of how you perceive things. We’ll just have to wait and see,” he said.
Before the trial, O’Brien had stated that he intended to run for another term, but yesterday he said he wanted to take some time before committing to run again.
He said the trial was a very dehumanizing process and he needed some time to put it into perspective.
“The way I feel about it today will be different in a month, and quite different in six months,” he said. “I think I need to give myself time to digest what my family and I have gone through.”