Former MP Raj Grewal breach of trust charges dismissed

Ottawa –

An Ontario judge has dismissed two charges of breach of trust against a former Liberal MP accused of using his public office for personal gain.

Ontario Superior Court Judge Sylvia Cawthorne announced her decision Friday morning in Raj Grewal’s case, ending a criminal trial that has dragged on since last summer.

“Today the court ruled in my favor, ending a particularly difficult chapter in my life,” Grewal told reporters after the verdict.

“The system may be imperfect, but as Canadians we have a lot to do, it is comforting to know that we have a strong, independent and competent justice system. There is,’ he said. He said.

“But there is an overwhelming presumption of guilt in courts of public opinion. I have experienced this first hand over the past four and a half years.”

Grewal left the Federal Liberal Party caucuses in 2018 after his gambling problem came to light and public outcry ensued. He chose not to run for re-election in 2019.

In 2020, the RCMP filed four counts of treason and one count of fraud for over $5,000. By the time the court proceedings were closed, only two counts of breach of trust were still under consideration.

In that case, the King alleged that Grewal had provided access to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and assisted with immigration files in exchange for a large loan that went toward his gambling debts.

The most prominent evidence in question is that two Brampton-area businessmen provided Grewal with $200,000 in loans each, and also attended events during Trudeau’s visit to India in 2018. was doing. .

“A conscientious judge saw the indictment for what it was. Speaking outside court.

He said there was a “grave cultural misunderstanding” at the prosecution’s “vulnerable core.” Lenders to Grewal testified that it was not uncommon for members of the Brampton community to help each other with large loans. They described themselves as friends or family friends of Grew’s.

“The suggestion that people received favors in exchange for helping him and helping fellow community members in need had no evidence to support it,” Hassan said. .

“The crown didn’t drop the ball. The facts speak for themselves. The evidence was scant.”

In court, Cawthorne said that a reasonable jury given proper direction could not have convicted. I couldn’t even pull it out logically,” she said. As a result, she found Grew innocent.

Prosecutor Tim Wightman declined to comment on the judge’s decision.

In a petition for directed verdict (which requires the judge to drop the charges before the defense can argue), Hassan is not allowed to abuse his public office for corrupt purposes and to commit an error while on duty. argued that there was a difference. office.

Hassan told reporters on Friday: “The lack of morals has created a gambling problem.

“(Grewal) has made great strides and worked very hard to regain control of his life. He is thriving as a lawyer, husband, father and community member.”

Hasan criticized Grewal’s “quick and irresponsible judgment rush” following early reports of gambling, which he said had devastated the former MP over the past five years.

“We are fortunate that Mr Grewal had the means and resources, and the support of his family and community, to confront these accusations. They don’t have the resources and they can get… crushed by the system,” Hassan said.

“But even for those with the means, the toll is huge. It’s huge.”

Grewal is an attorney and another disciplinary matter remains unresolved with the Ontario Bar Association tribunal. Hasan said he expects a speedy resolution now that the criminal case is over.

“Nearly five years after it all began, I have remained optimistic, but the proof has been incredibly slow.”

This report by the Canadian Press was first published on March 10, 2023.

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