PETERBOROUGH, ONT.—The judge who found former MP Dean Del Mastro guilty of overspending in the 2008 federal election ought to have paid more attention to the services his campaign received instead of focusing on dollar amounts, a lawyer is arguing.
In a document filed in Peterborough court on Tuesday, defence lawyer Leo Adler doesn’t deny that Del Mastro wrote a $ 21,000 personal cheque to an Ottawa research and polling firm — the cheque that was at the heart of Justice Lisa Cameron’s verdict in late 2014.
But Adler says the actual services Del Mastro’s campaign received from the company are more important than the value of the cheque, which put Del Mastro over his personal and overall campaign spending limits.
He said Del Mastro’s campaign only received $ 1,575 worth of voter-calling services from the company in question — the now defunct Holinshed Research Group — and that amount was filed with Elections Canada.
The $ 21,000 cheque, as submitted by the defence, was for a software purchase. Del Mastro testified his campaign didn’t receive the software it paid for, which ultimately led to the breakdown of his relationship with the firm’s president, Frank Hall.
In the appeal filing, Adler argues Cameron overlooked key elements of the case. He says several versions of contracts between Del Mastro’s campaign and Holinshed were presented to the court. One version listed a $ 21,000 agreement and one listed a $ 1,575 agreement.
To determine which contract was properly signed off on and used, the appeal filing states Cameron had to choose whose testimony to believe. (She chose Hall’s.) From there she decided how much money was spent during the campaign.
Adler argues Cameron ought to have determined how much of the calling work was actually completed and how much of the money spent by Del Mastro was actually earned by Holinshed during the election campaign.