NEWS

Judge Michel Déziel admits to handling illegal campaign donation

03/10/2015 04:12 EDT | Updated 05/10/2015 05:59 EDT
Quebec Superior Court Judge Michel Déziel acknowledges he handed over more than $30,000 from an engineering firm to a municipal political party during a 1997 campaign, even though he knew corporate donations were illegal. 

Déziel, who is currently a sitting judge in Laval, Que., testified today at a Canadian Judicial Council inquiry.

The hearing was called to examine his conduct following allegations against Déziel made by a witness at the Charbonneau Inquiry. 

Gilles Cloutier, a former political fixer, testified at the inquiry that Déziel helped commit election fraud more than 15 years ago while Déziel was a lawyer and working on an election campaign in Blainville, Que.

Cloutier told the commission Déziel gave him an envelope containing $30,000 in $100 bills and asked Cloutier to turn it into legitimate $750 cheques, to support Pierre Gingras'sPartidel’actionciviquedeBlainville.

Cloutier said the money was from the engineering firm Dessau.

During his testimony on Tuesday, Déziel denied asking Cloutier to launder the money, but admitted to acting as an intermediary for a large donation from an engineering firm.

Déziel told the judicial council inquiry that he gave the money to a campaign worker. 

She was appointed to the Quebec Superior Court by the federal government six years after the alleged incident. 

If a judge's misconduct is deemed serious enough, the Canadian Judicial Council has the power to recommend to parliament, through the federal justice minister, that the judge be removed from office.

According to the judicial council's website, "parliament has never had to face such a situation, but sometimes a judge will retire or resign before that step is taken."

Déziel's lawyer intends to argue that his client should not be removed, because he was not yet a judge at the time of the events in question, and was never criminally charged. 

MORE:cbcNews