Closing arguments in the criminal trial of Senator Mike Duffy will take place early next year, as the evidence of Mr. Duffy ended Thursday.
The exact date for the final phase of his trial – which extends well beyond the eight weeks of scheduled hearings – has not yet been set.
Only after the end of final arguments – which also announced long – that Judge Charles Vaillancourt begin to deliberate on the guilt of Mr. Duffy relation to 31 counts of embezzlement, corruption and fraud it faces.
During the second day of his against-examination Thursday M.Duffy has claimed that they are human errors and practices of the Senate – and not greed or financial problems – which are the source of complaints unjustified spending that are central to most of the charges.
In an Ottawa courtroom, Mr. Duffy was questioned about his daily allowances including those claimed at a Florida vacation and a trip to British Columbia for a political fund raising canceled it turned into an opportunity visit family.
But Senator challenged what he saw as the premise of the questions of Crown prosecutor Mark Holmes, whether he did it all for the money.
He said his life did not revolve around money. For if that were the case, he would have stayed on CTV, said former television host.
He added that his goals in life were to act properly, to help people and make a contribution to society.
Mike Duffy, who pleaded not guilty to 31 charges of fraud, breach of trust and corruption, said that during his years as a senator, he had been warning of problems with his expense claims maybe three times.
And to show its good faith and how he trusted the Senate process, he said he left his assistant a blank signed check book so that he can immediately repay any sum which would have been demanded by mistake.
This does not mean that he always knew what claims were submitted.
The court also heard that Mr Duffy also left its staff blank forms, but signed, so that its employees can fulfill – a common practice in the Senate – because of the pressure on the senators to meet and submit their claims on time.
Here’s how a claim was made for a daily allowance for a business trip, while Senator Duffy was actually on vacation in Florida.
It was filled by mistake by one of his assistants.
“If I had seen, I never claimed for my time outdoors,” said Duffy.
He said it was ultimately his responsibility to check that the claims submitted were valid and correct, but the pre-signed forms were the way to go.
“I did what others were doing.”
“Maybe it was improper practice, but there was never any intention on my part to make a false claim and seek the things that the rules did not permit to demand . ”
In the center of the defense of Mike Duffy is the argument that he has committed no crime, but he was caught in a web of obscure and complex rules that made the impossible task to all senators.