-11.3 C
Monday, January 20, 2020
Connecting Our Communities

Crown withdraws charges against Woolwich councillor Scott Hahn


Woolwich proposes 5% tax hike for 2020

Budget talks underway this week, Woolwich council is looking at five per cent hike in property taxes, a...

News Briefs

Woolwich nixes traffic islands Displeased with the troublesome pedestrian islands installed during the Region of Waterloo’s reconstruction of Church Street...

EDSS student wins U.S. baseball scholarship

It’s January and nowhere near Florida, but St. Jacobs’ Blake Jacklin is in a baseball frame of mind....

20-year-old agreement causes a stir

An Elmira environmentalist’s “smoking gun” appears to be shooting blanks. Al Marshall, a long-time critic of cleanup efforts at...


broken clouds
-11.3 ° C
-8 °
-15 °
78 %
75 %
-8 °
-5 °
-1 °
1 °
3 °

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 All charges were withdrawn.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.


The new face of health promotion

There’s a new face around the Woolwich Community Health Centre. Gebre Berlihun has taken on the role of public health promoter after the retirement of 25-year employee Joy Finney in October.

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.

Kings win two more to keep streak alive

The Elmira Sugar Kings extended their 2020 winning streak and their hold on the conference standings with a pair of wins over the weekend.

Applejacks extend winning streak to three

The new year continues to be good to the Wellesley Applejacks, who picked up a pair of wins over the weekend to make...

Choir to bring the sounds of Africa to Elmira

An Elmira church will play host to a lively performance by an internationally-acclaimed children’s choir from Uganda, Africa. The Watoto...

New app a one-stop shop for region’s waste program

Not sure when your garbage will be picked up? What’s currently allowed in the recycling bin? There’s an app for that.

EDCL donates $1,000 as thank-you to Floradale firefighters

Thanking the Woolwich Fire Department, Elmira District Community Living this week donated $1,000 to the Floradale station. Firefighters from Floradale...
- Advertisement -