NEWS

Mike Duffy trial: Quebec dog breeder expected to testify

06/02/2015 08:50 EDT | Updated 06/02/2016 05:59 EDT
A Quebec dog breeder is among the witnesses expected to testify today at the Mike Duffy trial in Ottawa, as the Crown resumes making its claim that the suspended senator improperly expensed travel arrangements, including to purchase a puppy.

Duffy has pleaded not guilty to 31 charges of fraud, breach of trust and bribery related to expenses he claimed as a senator and later repaid with money from the prime minister's former chief of staff, Nigel Wright.

The Crown has accused Duffy of filing expense claims for events not related to parliamentary work. This includes $698, which the Crown alleges was for a trip he took with his wife to a dog show in Peterborough, Ont., in July 2010 to buy a Kerry blue terrier.

The Crown has spent some time focussing on this trip.

During the first part of the trial that began in April, court heard from Louise Lang, secretary of the Kerry Blue Terrier Club of Canada, and Barbara Thompson, a New Brunswick Kerry blue terrier breeder, who testified that Duffy and his wife, Heather, purchased a puppy from her home in New Brunswick in January 2011.

Court also heard testimony from former Conservative MP Dean Del Mastro, who said Duffy told him he was in town for a dog show in 2010 when they met at a Tim Hortons in Peterborough.

Bill Rodgers, a former Parliament Hill journalist and one-time Conservative staffer, is also expected to resume his testimony that was cut short by the three-week hiatus.

Rodgers, who also goes by the last name Kittelberg, had testified he received a cheque payment in 2012 from Duffy after the two had conversations about a number of issues, including climate change, aboriginal affairs and water quality.

The trial, which began on April 7 in the Ontario Court of Justice in Ottawa, resumed Monday following the three-week break. The case had been slated for 41 days, but both the Crown and defence made it clear during the trial they would need more time. The second part of the trial is scheduled to end June 19.

However, new dates to extend the trial could be set Tuesday, as a lawyer for the Liberals' former senator, Mac Harb. agreed to postpone his trial scheduled to begin on Aug. 10.

Those dates scheduled for Harb's trial could be used for Duffy's case. Harb has also been charged with fraud and breach of trust 

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