Just last week, an Ontario court officially ended the case against former Liberal MP Raj Grewal, who was accused of taking advantage of his position to fund his gambling debt. Superior Court of Justice Judge Sylvia Corthorn announced that the two charges of breach of trust against him have been dropped, thus ending the criminal trial which began last summer.
The former MP left the Liberals in 2018 after his gambling problem was made known to the public which stirred the pot. Then in 2020, the RCMP charged him with four counts of breach of trust and one of fraud over CA$5,000. He was also alleged to have offered access to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and help with immigration files in exchange for large loans to cover his gambling debt.
After his acquittal, Mr. Grewal shared that this particularly challenging part of his life has come to an end. He noted that the system may be imperfect, but Canadians can take comfort in knowing that there is a strong and capable judiciary. He also shared that he felt a presumption of guilt in the court of public opinion which he experienced over the last few years.
Nader Hasan, who represented Mr. Grewal in court, claimed that a conscientious judge saw the prosecution for what it was, ill-founded and unprovable. He explained that it was unprovable as there was no criminal activity and no criminal intent. He added that the prosecution’s “fragile core’ was a grave cultural misunderstanding, as it was usual for Brampton locals to help each other with loans.
Meanwhile, Judge Corthorn shared that a reasonable jury given proper instruction would not have been able to render a guilty verdict. She added that the inferences required to support the Crown’s theory could neither reasonably nor logically be drawn, therefore, Mr. Grewal was determined not guilty. Crown prosecutor, Tim Wightman did not provide a comment on the decision.
On Friday, Mr. Hasan also said that a moral failing and developing a gambling problem was not even remotely connected to a criminal act. He added that his client has made great progress and worked hard to regain control of his life. He also criticized the quick and irresponsible rush to judgment that followed quickly after the news of Mr. Grewal’s gambling problem.
In February, the lawyer argued that prosecutors have not provided enough evidence to find his client guilty of the two breaches of trust charges and wanted them dropped. He also claimed that the Crown has not managed to identify essential elements for such a ruling, while also noting the prosecution wants the judge to ignore plenty of facts and evidence.
Some of the Reports
Back in 2019, reports emerged claiming that a special fundraising event in April 2018 amassed nearly CA$600,000. It allegedly took place around the time when he was struggling with debts reaching millions of Canadian dollars. Those interested in supporting the fundraiser had the chance to do so in exchange for a CA$500 ticket guaranteeing access to the event.
Source: Smith, Marie-Danielle “Breach of trust charges against former Liberal MP Raj Grewal dismissed” GlobalNews, March 10, 2023