SUDBURY, Ont. — A judge has acquitted two Ontario Liberals of Election Act bribery charges.
Judge Howard Borenstein granted a directed verdict application from the defence that called for the charges to be dismissed before the defence called any witnesses.
That means the case against Pat Sorbara, who was Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne’s deputy chief of staff and Liberal campaign director, and local Liberal fundraiser Gerry Lougheed has been dismissed.
Sorbara and Lougheed were accused of offering would-be candidate Andrew Olivier a job or appointment to step aside for Wynne’s preferred candidate in a 2015 byelection in Sudbury, Ont.
But the judge found Olivier never could have been the candidate because Wynne had already decided to appoint Glenn Thibeault, so Sorbara and Lougheed could not be found guilty for inducing Olivier to refrain from becoming a candidate.
Sorbara also faced a second charge, alleging that she bribed Thibeault to become the candidate by arranging for paid jobs on the byelection campaign for two of his constituency staff, but the judge says he can’t see why agreeing to employ two qualified people would be detrimental to the electoral process. (CJMX)
The Canadian Press