Andrew Coyne: Why fight criminal charges in court when you can lobby?
A big question has arisen, is that why fight criminal charges in court when you can press? It’s really necessary? Or simply another alternative is established that could be better without mentioning that it is a simpler alternative.
Thus, it is noted that finally, the liberal government has that external legal opinion that it was looking for. A federal court judge ruled that the decision of the director of the public prosecutor’s office to bring SNC-Lavalin to trial for fraud and corruption, instead of negotiating a “remediation agreement” as the company preferred, was an adequate exercise of its discretion. By extension, she has backed the former attorney general’s refusal to annul that decision. For the opposite side to the discretion of the prosecutor is the independence of the prosecution, consecrated by centuries of customary law and, as the judge wrote, “essential and fundamental to the criminal justice system.”
It is considered that no attorney general has invalidated the decision of a DPP in a specific process due to a reason, which is the same reason that the DPP office was created in the first place: to isolate such decisions, insofar as possible, of political interference.
Only in the most exceptional circumstances was it expected that the attorney general would annul it; otherwise, what is the point of the DPP? And under no circumstances should the authority of the attorney general be compromised, not by direct orders, by covert threats or by a pressure of any kind, even under the pretext of an endless suggestion that he seek an external opinion.
There has been considerable speculation that there are multiple reasons to believe that DPP, Kathleen Roussel, not only had the right to make the decision she made but was right to do so. A reading of the relevant sections of the Criminal Code suggests that SNC-Lavalin was not eligible for a remediation agreement for multiple reasons: due to the seriousness of the crimes of which it is accused; Because has not admitted corporate responsibility; because did not voluntarily reveal his alleged irregularity; because the main argument to discard all this, WHAT ABOUT THE JOBZ, is expressly excluded from consideration.
Therefore, it would be really improper for the former attorney general, Jody Wilson-Raybould, to order him to do what the law prohibits. Even so, if you do not agree with your decisions, it is not the DPP or the AG: as a matter of law, as a constitutional principle, it is your call to do so, each in its separate capacity.
Source: Andrew Coyne | National Post