Raj Grewal who is a former Liberal MP involved in a gambling scandal from a few years ago is now looking to have two of his criminal charges dismissed. His lawyer argued that prosecutors have not provided enough evidence to find his client guilty of the two breaches of trust charges and that the Crown has not managed to identify essential elements for such a ruling.
The ex-Liberal MP was accused of taking advantage of his political position for personal gain, by providing access to events with the prime minister and help with immigration files in exchange for large loans which fed his gambling debt. In 2020, the RCMP charged him with four counts of breach of trust and one count of fraud and his trial started in 2022.
This Week’s Developments
Mr. Grewal is represented by defence lawyer Nader Hasan who this week claimed that the prosecution wants the judge to ignore plenty of facts and evidence that have come to life during the court proceedings. Meanwhile, the defendant appeared in court via video call connection, as his lawyer put forward a motion for a directed verdict and an acquittal on all charges
The defence also claims that Mr. Grewal’s conduct falls within the non-criminal category, and the prosecution’s case does not hold grounds. Also, the lawyer notes that there is a difference between misusing one’s official status for a corrupt purpose and making an error. Mr. Hasan claims that the latter may be a mistake in judgment deserving of administrative enaction, but not a criminal offence.
Prior to that, an investigation of the defendant’s bank statements during the prosecution’s evidence found that he had accepted over CA$6 million worth of deposits larger than CA$10,000 in the time after he was elected as an MP. The analysis also found that a significant amount of the money went into payments at Casino Lac-Leamy in Ottawa, Quebec.
In relation to his, in June 2022, the operations supervisor from the casino Jacques Bouchard testified in the trial. He stated that he had seen Mr. Grewal playing at the casino on numerous occasions. But one time on May 30, 2018, at around 11:30 he noticed that the former MP had become quite agitated while playing blackjack. After the incident, he submitted a security investigation report.
This week, Crown prosecutor Tim Wightman argued that the defendant offered invitations in exchange for money. He also stated that a public official should not benefit from the provision of services that are made as part of his duties, nor should a public official use his office or his duties to provide benefits to someone he’s indebted to.
Responding to FINTRAC Signal
The RCMP began their investigation of Mr. Grewal in September 2017, after the department received a heads-up from the country’s Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre, also knowns as FINTRAC. After stepping down, the MP explained that he borrowed money from his family and friend and that there was nothing shady with his dealings.
Source: Smith, Marie-Danielle “Former Liberal MP Raj Grewal seeks dismissal of breach of trust charges due to lack of evidence” CBC, February 7, 2023