Defence wants Ontario Liberal bribery charges tossed

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SUDBURY, Ont. – Lawyers representing two Ontario Liberals charged with Election Act bribery offences are asking a judge to throw out the case before they even present any evidence.

Pat Sorbara, who was Premier Kathleen Wynne’s deputy chief of staff and Liberal campaign director, and local Liberal fundraiser Gerry Lougheed have pleaded not guilty.

The charges stem from a 2015 byelection in Sudbury, in which Glenn Thibeault left his job as the riding’s NDP MP and successfully ran for the provincial Liberals.

Sorbara and Lougheed are accused of offering a would-be candidate a job or appointment to step aside for Thibeault, who was Wynne’s preferred candidate.

Thibeault was the Crown’s last witness at the trial, and today the defence lawyers said they’ll ask for a directed verdict, with arguments set for Oct. 10.

They will essentially argue that the Crown’s case isn’t strong enough, though if they lose the directed verdict motion, the defence will still plan to call evidence. (CJMX)