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The long awaited and politically sensitive criminal trial involving allegations of document destruction in the Ontario premier’s office is finally set to start with the defence expected to ask for an adjournment.

A lawyer for one of former premier Dalton McGuinty’s top aides says the request stems from information the prosecution only gave the defence recently.

“My client wants to get on with the trial,” said lawyer Brian Gover, who represents David Livingston, McGuinty’s former chief of staff. “But we need to ensure that we are prepared as well.”

The Scandal

Police charged Livingston and Laura Miller, in December 2015 in connection with the deletion of emails about the Liberals’ decision to cancel two gas plants just before the 2011 provincial election costing $1.1 billion in cancellation cost to the taxpayers.

According to court documents, Livingston and Miller hired her partner, a computer expert under contract to the Liberals, to wipe clean about 20 hard drives in the premier’s office in 2013. Likely to remove any political wrongdoings by the McGuinty government.

Liberal Run Around

The Liberals refused to give a legislature committee documents related to the canceled gas plants in Oakville and Mississauga. This criticism eventually saw McGuinty resign as Premier and leading to the tight election victory of Kathleen Wynne.

The Crime

Both are charged with breach of trust, mischief and unlawful use of a computer

The trial, is expected to last six weeks, comes ahead of a provincial election — set to take place on June 7, 2018 — in which his successor, Premier Kathleen Wynne, faces a tough battle to stay in office as Wynne maintains stunningly low support among even Liberal voters and has found it difficult to regain lost ground.

She has repeatedly apologized for the gas-plants scandal that has provided reams of fodder for a gleeful opposition, which has blasted the cancellations as a costly “Liberal seat-saver campaign, but the stark prices in both electricity combined with now high gas prices are likely to further harm any potential support for their costly cancellation.

 

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