Criminal Law

Mike Duffy trial: Day two focuses on Senate rules

Toronto criminal lawyer Joseph Neuberger says he anticipates Mike Duffy's defence to focus on big-picture Senate issues that are related to residency rules and policies for expenses during the course of the trial. Listen to CBC’s The National

“That's clearly where the defence wants to go in this case,” he says.

Neuberger, partner at Neuberger & Partners LLP, and a CBC analyst for the trial, tells CBC that the defence so far has portrayed the Senate rules as “loosey-goosey” and that the expenses Duffy incurred were indeed honest.

“They have gone out and said right away that Mr. Duffy and his wife are going to to testify – so these are very good strategies to get the message out right away and to stay on message throughout the case,” Neuberger tells the broadcaster.

Day two of the high-profile court proceeding was dominated with testimony around the indicators that determine a senator's residence, reports the Canadian Press.

The former senator is on trial for 31 charges of fraud, breach of trust and bribery, two of the charges are associated with living expenses Duffy claimed as senator for Prince Edward Island, says the wire service.

The Crown says Duffy was living full-time in Ottawa.

The proceedings, held before Ontario Justice Charles Vaillancourt, began with the Crown accusing Duffy of “skirting the chamber’s rules for his own benefit” and his lawyer launching a “vigorous defence,” says the article.

The former law clerk of the Senate, Mark Audcent, testified that the factors involved in determining residence include: “where someone physically spent most of their time, where they got their government services, where they paid their taxes and where they did things like go to church or go bowling.”

The requirements also include owning $4,000 worth of property in the province of their appointment, “an old requirement which, if expressed in today's currency, would be around half-a-million dollars,” says the article.

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