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ELECTIONS - Candidates - Official agents and auditors - Expenses - Regulation - Election documents - Election financing - Maximum election expenses - Contested and controverted elections - Offences and penalties

Wednesday, September 27, 2017 @ 8:42 AM  

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Appeal by the accused from a Superior Court of Justice decision dismissing an appeal from convictions under the Canada Elections Act (CEA). The appellant was a successful candidate for a riding in the 2008 federal election and was tried and convicted on charges under the CEA. He was convicted of exceeding his election expense limit, willfully exceeding his personal contribution limit and of filing a false or misleading election campaign return. He was sentenced to 30 days’ imprisonment together with a four-month conditional sentence and 18 months’ probation. He was also required to pay restitution of $10,000 to an electoral district association. He had appealed his conviction and sentence to the Superior Court of Justice, and his appeals were dismissed, except in respect of a variation setting aside the restitution order. The appellant raised several issues on appeal. First, the appellant argued that the trial judge erred in her interpretation and application of the definitions of “election expense” and “commercial value” under the CEA, causing her to ignore evidence relevant to whether the appellant exceeded his expense limit. Second, the appellant argued that the trial judge erred in determining that the appellant was liable as a party to the offence committed by his official agent and that the appeal court erred in finding that the third party liability provisions of the Criminal Code applied to prosecutions under the CEA by operation of s. 34(2) of the Interpretation Act. The appellant abandoned his sentence appeal in oral argument.

HELD: Appeal dismissed. The trial and appeal court judges did not err in interpreting the CEA by failing to consider whether the work for which the appellant billed was actually used by his campaign and whether the amount billed reflected the commercial value of the work. The appellant was properly found guilty as a party to an offence committed by his official agent. The party liability provisions of the Criminal Code applied to offences under the CEA. All of the provisions of the Code were incorporated into offences created by other federal legislation by virtue of s. 34(2) of the Interpretation Act, unless that legislation otherwise provided. The CEA did not otherwise provide.

R. v. Del Mastro, [2017] O.J. No. 4692, Ontario Court of Appeal, G.R. Strathy C.J.O., M.L. Benotto and B. Miller JJ.A., September 13, 2017. Digest No. TLD-Sept252017007