fbpx
2.2 C
Elmira
Monday, December 9, 2019
Connecting Our Communities

Crown withdraws charges against Woolwich councillor Scott Hahn

TRENDING

Restored Victorian home in Elmira the subject of TV competition

Along with the influx of visitors that comes with the holiday season, Elmira will see one new...

New MP jumps to the next stage

Ever since he was elected as the new Liberal Member of Parliament for Kitchener-Conestoga during the October...

Historical Society Annual General Meeting

The 42nd Annual General Meeting of the Historical Society of St. Boniface and Maryhill Community was held...

Meet the candidates

By Veronica Reiner & Aneta Rebiszewski Five candidates are vying for your vote in...

THIS WEEK

Elmira
overcast clouds
2.2 ° C
4.4 °
0 °
74 %
5.1kmh
90 %
Mon
5 °
Tue
8 °
Wed
-1 °
Thu
-4 °
Fri
0 °

The Crown won’t pursue a case against Scott Hahn despite a reasonable chance of conviction on charges the Woolwich councillor mishandled his expense report following the 2014 municipal election.

In a Kitchener courtroom Wednesday, Crown prosecutor Michael Carnegie said pursuing the case wasn’t in the public interest. All charges were withdrawn.

“A trial would require, in essence, a retracing of the entire audit process, deconstructing it over multiple days and calling several witnesses,” said Carnegie, adding that the only evidence the Crown had to go on was the previously submitted audit. “No statements were taken in a formal sense, no audio, video were provided, instead the auditors, as per their legitimate function, simply interviewed individuals and took notes.”

Although the Crown opted not to proceed with the charges, Carnegie says there would be a reasonable chance of  a successful prosecution based on the evidence and the charges, but attributed Hahn’s poor paperwork to ignorance of the rules, rather than malice or fraud.

“Certainly there is a technical breech  of the Municipal Elections Act. There is, however, no evidence that it was knowingly done, and this would, in my respectful submission, constitute offending behaviour on the low end of the MEA standard.

Hahn was accused of misreporting and mishandling his financial reports following the 2014 municipal election. After a forensic audit, Waterloo Region’s Municipal Elections Compliance Audit Committee (MECAC) found that even though there were discrepancies and cases of misreporting, there weren’t enough grounds to refer the matter to the courts.

MECAC ordered the audit in 2015 that found Hahn had contravened the Municipal Elections Act on several fronts. Prepared by Froese Forensic Partners, the report cited a lack of proper paperwork in relation to campaign signs and brochures prepared by Hahn’s family members.

Elmira resident Alan Marshal wasn’t satisfied with the lack of action, however, and it was he who brought the charges to provincial prosecutors.

Despite having prepared remarks, Marshall was not permitted to address the court on Wednesday morning after an objection from both the defense and the prosecution.

He was not pleased with the end result, however.

“A decision not to prosecute this case, involving blatant and outrageous contraventions of the MEA will encourage disrespect and non-compliance of our election laws,” he said in his prepared statement. “Laws are supposed to be inherently in the public interest in the first place. … Democracy … is in the public interest, as are elections and election laws.”

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to The Observer's online community. Pseudonyms are not permitted. By submitting a comment, you accept that The Observer has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner The Observer chooses. Please note that The Observer does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our submission guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

LIVING HERE

Strong demand for traditional real Christmas trees can exceed supply

With Christmas just a few weeks away there’s only a short time left to pick out the perfect tree, but what will you choose: real or fake? Many retailers are facing dilemmas that...

In Print. Online. In Pictures. In Depth.

You obviously love community journalism. Thanks for visiting today. If you have a great local story, let us know.

Answering the childhood question that rolls around at the holidays

Get into the Christmas spirit with a fresh retelling of a classic tale inspired by real events in Elora Community Theatre’s lastest offering.

Woolwich to attach overdue water bills to property taxes in bid to simplify collections process

Looking to simplify the collection process for overdue water and sewer bills – and increase the chance of getting its hands on...

Jacks fall to second after losing twice over the weekend

Sunday’s lousy weather may not have been to everyone’s liking, but the Wellesley Applejacks might have been the only ones happy...

Getting drivers to slow down a slow process in Woolwich Township

Traffic issues, particularly speeding, are a frequent source of public complaints received by Woolwich officials. Often more perception than reality, the topic is...

Even those with jobs are increasingly reliant on food banks

An increasing number of full- and part-time workers across Ontario are accessing food bank services, a trend that can be seen in...

Putting the cold on ice with the annual hat and mitten toss at Saturday’s Sugar Kings game

There’ll be no need to wait until somebody scores three goals to toss hats out onto the ice, as the Elmira Sugar...
- Advertisement -