Far longer than anyone expectedThe closing submissions cap off a trial that began in April and was initially supposed to last just eight weeks. But it's a story that starts back in 2008, when the popular broadcaster was appointed by former prime minister Stephen Harper as a Conservative senator for P.E.I.
In this artist's sketch, Sen. Mike Duffy, a former member of the Conservative caucus, testifies at his trial in Ottawa, on Dec. 8, 2015. (Photo: Greg Banning/Canadian Press)
There's no question the changing of the political guard in Ottawa took some of the air out of the proceedings, Sankoff noted. But neither side has any room left for it anyway. "What they were dealing with for long periods, who knew what at what time, who was dealing with the decision, I don't think any of that matters anymore," he said. "I think they are really going to focus to the extent that they will on trying to explain why he should or shouldn't be convicted." But that's not to say that Justice Charles Vaillancourt's eventual ruling will have no fallout, Sankoff said. "What the judge says could have some impact on how the government does business, because the judge could make some statements about the inappropriateness of some of the conduct of the prime minister's office and I think that has resonance even for future governments," he said. While two weeks have been set aside for the final submissions, the judge has also asked both sides to present them in writing first, in order to focus them in the hope that the full two weeks will not be needed.
"What they were dealing with for long periods, who knew what at what time, who was dealing with the decision, I don't think any of that matters anymore."
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