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Tom Rees | Criminal Defence Lawyer Winnipeg
13
Jan

Have You Ever Wanted to Read Dean Del Mastro’s Court Case?

Dean Del Mastro was convicted of “incurring election expenses that exceeded the campaign limit”, “making a personal contribution that exceeded the limit” and “providing a false or misleading election return” as a party to the offence (R. v. Del Mastro, 2014 ONCJ 605).

In the Judges words:

I find that Del Mastro is guilty of count one, incurring election expenses that exceeded the campaign limit, and that McCarthy is also guilty of this offence as a party based, at least, on wilful blindness.

I find further that Del Mastro is guilty of count two, making a personal contribution that exceeded the limit.

And I find that McCarthy is guilty of count three and Del Mastro as a party for providing a false or misleading Election Return, and necessarily make the same finding on count four, the alternate strict liability offence.

The judge also made a finding with respect to Dean Del Mastro’s credibility:

While I accept some of Del Mastro evidence, I have concerns about the credibility of his evidence, specifically its veracity on contested issues revolving around Holinshed’s provision of election services in the fall of 2008. There are a number of inconsistencies and improbabilities. At times, the way in which he testified led me to believe that he was avoiding the truth.

The court continued:

With respect to the latter, on a number of occasions Del Mastro did not answer the questions put to him in cross-examination. He frequently obfuscated the evidence. Here are references to several examples:

A question about other services in the amount of $1,575 [found in the transcript of July 10th at page 55]; a question about providing outdated CIMS information for GOTV calling [found in the transcript of July 11th at page 14]; a question about meeting minutes indicating that McNutt had complete spending authority subject to approval by McCarthy and overspending during the early part of the campaign [July 11th, page 51 to 52]; questions about payment of an invoice directed to Jeff Westlake [July 11th, page 47 to 48]; a question about McNutt’s authority to incur election expenses [July 11th, page 44]; and a question about when the $21,000 personal cheque was sent to Holinshed [July 11th, page 126 to 127].

The court went on to outline other areas where Dean Del Mastro’s testimony caused concern. The first topic was the $21000.00 personal cheque:

Firstly, the deposit of $21,000 made by personal cheque.

Del Mastro claimed that this deposit was for non-election services eventually described in the $14,000 and $7,000 contracts split between the EDA and MP offices, except that it was no deposit; it was the total cost of those contracts. Also, there is no trace of any discussion about splitting the costs until November when it shows up in a string of e-mails about the Voter ID and GOTV contract getting rolled into a larger contract that included Strategabase.

The compelling commonsense interpretation of those e-mails is that Del Mastro did not know about splitting the cost until then and wanted to talk about it further. Parenthetically, that e-mail also makes it clear that the non-election finished product could not be completed or delivered without Del Mastro’s staff working with Holinshed to populate the software program and define its parameters as testified to by Hall.

In explaining the relevant activity in his personal bank account, Del Mastro talked about his personal cheque as just an “expression of trust”, apparently not expecting it to be cashed in August when he wrote it, but he knew better than that; as he later acknowledged in his evidence, payment was required in order for the work to start. One wonders why neither the campaign nor McCarthy knew about Del Mastro’s $21,000 cheque, supposedly written on their behalf, a month later when they were paying a $21,000 invoice to the same company.

Del Mastro later talked about the cheque in terms of establishing credit with Holinshed with respect to non-election services, yet he used it to pay for GOTV election services. Considering the known importance of tracking election expenses, I find it improbable that more care would not have been taken to separate the election and non-election expenses.
Granted, Del Mastro often spoke and acted about himself and the EDA as if they were one, despite knowing he had no authority to bind the association. This begs the question of what the EDA and subsequently the campaign cabinet knew about what was going on.

Del Mastro testified McCarthy was constantly on top of campaign expenses and that the campaign cabinet discussed major decisions like budget before they were implemented; but if that were the case, it is highly unlikely that both McNutt and McCarthy would make the mistake of paying an erroneous $21,000 invoice for election services during the writ period.

The court also stated:

Having reviewed the law and the evidence, I am prepared to draw an adverse inference with respect to Del Mastro’s credibility.

 

To read all of the judges reasons for decision click on this link.