Del Mastro lawyer tries to undermine credibility of Elections Canada investigator

The lawyer for former Conservative MP Dean Del Mastro tried Tuesday to undermine the credibility of the Elections Canada investigator who led the case against his client, suggesting multiple opportunities were missed to thoroughly test the integrity of a key witness.

PETERBOROUGH, Ont. — The lawyer for former Conservative MP Dean Del Mastro tried Tuesday to undermine the credibility of the Elections Canada investigator who led the case against his client, suggesting multiple opportunities were missed to thoroughly test the integrity of a key witness.

Investigator Alan Mathews spent much of the day testifying at the election overspending trial of Del Mastro, once the Harper government’s point man on defending the Conservatives against allegations of voter fraud.

Mathews, the last witness to be called by the Crown, said he and an assistant conducted an analysis of voter identification calls made by data consulting firm Holinshed Research for Del Mastro’s campaign.

The Holinshed services are at the heart of the case, with the Crown alleging Del Mastro paid for them from a personal account, thereby exceeding a limit on personal contributions for the 2008 election campaign.

The Crown has also alleged Del Mastro tried to cover up overspending by using backdated invoices to make it appear Holinshed had only charged a fraction of the cost during the election period.

Del Mastro’s lawyer, Jeffrey Ayotte, said Mathews didn’t bother to obtain records of phone calls between Holinshed president Frank Hall and Del Mastro, nor did he obtain a warrant to search Hall’s laptop.

Mathews said he took the lead on the case partway through the investigation and didn’t chose to pursue a request to obtain the phone records.

“Telephone records would have been nice to have in this case, you’d agree?” Ayotte asked Mathews, who conceded the records would be useful if they were relevant.

“How are Frank Halls records not relevant?” Ayotte pressed. “You could have got them…but you didn’t.”

Ayotte further hammered away at Mathews for not obtaining a warrant to search Hall’s laptop, a line of questioning the witness deflected by saying a warrant wasn’t necessary — Hall had already consented to a search of the device, within certain parameters.

“So you didn’t apply for a warrant and you allowed Frank Hall to limit the parts of his laptop that you could search,” Ayotte asked. “In retrospect, do you think that was a mistake?”

“I would do it somewhat differently,” Mathews said. “I may have tried to persuade Frank and his counsel more vigorously to allow a wider search.”

Ayotte went on to suggest Mathews didn’t adequately scrutinize an alleged discrepancy between the number of hours of service Holinshed claimed it worked for Del Mastro’s campaign versus the number of hours a company payroll database indicated had actually been worked.

Mathews said he did think the hours of service reported by the company database seemed lower than they should have been, but he didn’t question Holinshed’s president about them.

Del Mastro has pleaded not guilty to charges of overspending during the 2008 campaign, failing to report a personal contribution of $21,000 to his own campaign and knowingly submitting a falsified document.

“I’m very pleased at the way court is proceeding. I’ve waited a long time for this trial to come together,” the MP said outside court Tuesday.

Del Mastro is expected to take the stand in his own defence and said he looked forward to getting his side of the story on the public record.

“I think they’ll see that there’s a counter-narrative — a very important counter-narrative that’s supported by key witnesses.”

Richard McCarthy, Del Mastro’s official agent for the 2008 campaign, is being tried at the same time on three charges, including “incurring election expenses in an amount more than the election expenses limit.” He has also pleaded not guilty.

If found guilty, Del Mastro and McCarthy could each face fines of $1,000 and a year behind bars.

A conviction would not prevent Del Mastro from running from office again.

Just Posted

The second Leah’s Light 5K walk/run for overdose awareness was held at Kiwanis Picnic Park in Red Deer on Saturday morning. Photo by SEAN MCINTOSH/Advocate staff
Child advocate calls for provincial youth strategy to address opioid crisis

Twenty-nine young Albertans died from opioid poisoning in the first three months of 2021

(File photo by Advocate staff)
Youth faces weapons charge after incident at Sylvan Lake Beach

A 16-year-old male has been charged with possession of a weapon for… Continue reading

The viewing tower at Medicine River Wildife Centre is part of the centre’s walking trail. (Photo from Facebook)
Cross-country skiing coming to Medicine River Wildlife Centre

Recipient of $10,000 from 2019 Canada Winter Games Legacy Fund Society

The City of Red Deer is reaching out to the community to see if anyone wants to move and maintain the Scout Hut from 1937. The land it sits on is needed for a women’s shelter expansion. (Photo by LANA MICHELIN/Advocate staff).
City of Red Deer calling for proposals for preserving, moving Scout Hut

The 47th Avenue land it sits on is needed for women’s shelter expansion

Students at Olds College will be learning what’s new in agricultural technology at the facility’s Smart Farm. (Photo contributed)
New agricultural technologies explored by students at Olds College

Olds College is launching a new SmartFarm program to help farmers and… Continue reading

Vaccination, Maple Ridge, March 26, 2021 (Ronan O'Doherty/Black Press Media)
Alberta confirms two patient deaths from COVID-19 Delta variant at Calgary hospital

EDMONTON — A health official says two patients at Calgary’s Foothills hospital… Continue reading

Red Deer South MLA Jason Stephan's decision to travel to Arizona for a holiday has been sharply criticized by many.
Advocate file photo
Jason Stephan: Quebec’s actions undermine interests of Alberta

Prior to serving as a MLA, I structured many commercial partnership agreements.… Continue reading

FILE - Great Britain’s Andrew Matthews, from left to right, Ben Simons, Toby Olubi and Lamin Deen celebrate after their second-place finish in a four-man World Cup Bobsleigh race in Whistler, British Columbia, in this Saturday, Nov. 25, 2017, file photo. British Bobsleigh and Skeleton announced Thursday, June 17, 2021, that the four-man team of Deen, Simons, Olubi and Matthews has been upgraded to the gold medal for a race that occurred Nov. 25, 2017 in Whistler, Canada. The Russian crew that beat them that day has since been disqualified. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press via AP, File)
Britain upgraded to World Cup bobsled gold from 2017 race

Driver of Russian sled was sanctioned for doping violations

Leylah Annie Fernandez, of Canada, returns a shot Marie Bouzkova, of the Czech Republic, in round 1 of the Rogers Cup women’s tennis tournament in Toronto, Monday August 5, 2019. Leylah Annie Fernandez lost 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (3) to No. 2 seed Ons Jabeur of Tunisia in the second round of the Viking Classic Birmingham on Thursday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mark Blinch
Canadian Leylah Annie Fernandez loses third-set tiebreaker against Ons Jabeur

Jabeur now heads to the quarterfinals at the WTA Tour 250 grass-court event

Feist performs during the Polaris Music Prize gala in Toronto on September 18, 2017. Canadian singer-songwriter Leslie Feist is hitting the road with what’s described as an intimate and “unconventional production” featuring all new music.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Donovan
Leslie Feist to debut new music in ‘unconventional’ and intimate ‘Multitudes’ show

Calgary-raised artist will debut show at Kampnagel Festival in Germany

Letter: Improvements coming to two intersections in Red Deer to help cyclists

A letter in the Advocate on June 9 with complaints about cyclists… Continue reading

Opinion
Opinion: Trudeau tight-lipped on Constitution attack

When exactly did Canada become a Constitution-bashing country? For nearly 30 years,… Continue reading

Most Read