NEWS

‎Dean Del Mastro's court proceedings drag on

01/27/2015 06:25 EST | Updated 03/29/2015 05:59 EDT
At the end of the day's proceedings, Del Mastro‎ told reporters he may consider another run for office.

Leo Adler, Del Mastro's lawyer, argued the judge had made several errors in her ruling and that she should set aside the verdict before the case moved to a sentencing hearing.

Adler also argued that if the sentencing hearing goes ahead, Judge Lisa Cameron shouldn't consider the 10 victim impact statements provided by the Crown. He further argued that if Cameron allows the statements, he should be able to cross-examine the people making them.

Adler took over as Del Mastro's lawyer after the guilty verdict was entered on Oct. 31. With Del Mastro's previous lawyer sitting just behind him, Adler argued he had only come across the judge's errors when he took over the case and that he had an obligation to bring them to her attention.

He pointed in particular to the question of whether the cost of a series of voter identification and get-out-the-vote calls made on behalf of Del Mastro's 2008 re-election campaign were of a high enough value to put him over his spending limit.

Crown prosecutor Tom Lemon, however, said that issue was argued at trial and dealt with in the judge's verdict.

Delay tactic?

Lemon said if there had been an error, it was best dealt with by an appellate court, not the original trial judge.

The applications on behalf of Del Mastro took up the entire day in court, leaving the judge and lawyers setting a Feb. 19 date to return for the sentencing hearing.

Pushing back the sentencing keeps the court from entering a conviction. While that sounds like a minor distinction, it could mean the difference between Del Mastro running for federal office again or being banned from doing so for several years. Anyone convicted of an offence‎ under the Canada Elections Act is blocked from taking a seat in Parliament for years afterward. With 2015 an election year, it's possible Del Mastro has his eye on another bid.

Adler said the applications "absolutely" weren't delay tactics.

"We all want this over as quickly as possible," he told reporters on the way out of Ontario Court of Justice in Peterborough.

‎Del Mastro was found guilty Oct. 31 of spending too much on his election campaign, donating too much to himself and faking records to cover it up.

Asked outside the courthouse whether he would run again for office, Del Mastro smiled, said "maybe" and drove off.

Lawyers debate who are victims

Lemon told the court Del Mastro was unsatisfied with the verdict and wanted a do-over.

"Mr. Adler has failed to demonstrate why this matter should be reopened or how these arguments are any different [from the ones made at trial], and if they, why they weren't made before," Lemon said.

Del Mastro said the day of the guilty verdict ‎that he and Ayotte, his then-lawyer, had considered introducing additional evidence but thought they were winning the case and decided against it.

‎Lemon said verdicts "are normally final," but wouldn't call the applications a waste of time.

"A person's entitled to bring an application," he said. "It hopefully hasn't caused too much in the line of a delay."

‎Adler asked the judge not to consider the victim impact statements from people including the Liberal and New Democrat candidates who faced off against Del Mastro. He argued the calls went to identified Del Mastro supporters, none of whom was included among the victims who provided statements.

He also argued sometimes it's not possible to identify victims, and that if none are identified, there are none.

Brendan Gluckman, who argued on behalf of the Crown, said victims are entitled to be heard about the effect of a crime.

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