POLITICS

Robocalls case judge awards Tory MPs 'modest' legal costs

09/18/2013 05:14 EDT | Updated 11/18/2013 05:12 EST
A Federal Court judge has ruled that nine individuals who launched a legal challenge against seven Conservative MPs over allegations of widespread vote suppression through automated robocalls during the 2011 federal election will only have to pay a fraction of the legal costs sought by the elected officials.

In June, the Conservative MPs filed a reimbursement request seeking $355,000 in legal costs from the nine individuals who launched the case, after the Federal Court ruled in May that it would not annul the results of the 2011 federal election in the ridings won by Conservative MPs.

In his 15-page ruling, Justice Richard G. Mosley awarded the Conservative MPs a "modest" $13,206 to cover the costs of the hearing plus disbursements.

Mosley ruled that he was satisfied that the nine individuals, whose case was backed by the Council of Canadians, were "genuine public interest litigants motivated by a higher purpose."

"This was not a case of unwarranted election challenges. There was a factual foundation, albeit one which I ultimately found fell short of meeting the statutory threshold required to annul the election results in their riding."

“I’m pleased that the judge recognized the merits of our case and the integrity which our lawyers, the Council of Canadians and all the applicants brought forward,” said Peggy Walsh Craig, one of the applicants in the legal challenge.

The Conservative Party was not immediately available for comment.