Oliphant says Mulroney lied under oath will perjury charges follow ?
Justice Oliphant said in his report that former Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney’s testimony wasn’t trustworthy. In polite language he said Mulroney deceived the court and the commission on purpose. Anyone who gives sworn evidence with the intent to deceive a court “intent” commits perjury. Will Mulroney be disbarred?
Lawyers are rarely accused and convicted of perjury. In Mulroney’s case, Canadian taxpayers have spent in excess of $18 million to conclude that Mulroney did exactly that. It’s now up to the Law Society of Upper Canada or the Barreau du Québec to hold a disciplinary hearing.
The Law Society of Upper Canada Rules of Ethics, which are fairly standard, state.
“4.01 When acting as an advocate, a lawyer shall not … e) knowingly attempt to deceive a tribunal or influence the course of justice by offering false evidence, misstating facts or law, presenting or relying upon a false or deceptive affidavit, suppressing what ought to be disclosed, or otherwise assisting in any fraud, crime, or illegal conduct,”
Of course lawyers commit perjury all the time and politicians lie. Mulroney is both. He may not be judged any further by his peers but Canadians know he was untrustworthy. The Oliphant Report is damming.
CBC At Issue Panel
Justice Oliphant reviewed both Mulroney’s sworn testimony during the hearings and Mulroney’s lawsuit against the government for defamation in 1996. He stopped short of calling Mulroney a liar or perjurer because he said his mandate was not to ascribe blame. But he did say Mulroney under oath was not believable.
“I must also observe that that Mr. Mulroney’s description of his relationship with Mr. Schreiber as “peripheral” is simply not in accord with the evidence I heard. Although the two men were not friends, in my view their relationship was much more than peripheral.”
While he accepted other Mulroney testimony, Oliphant did not accept his word on the question of money from Karlheinz Schreiber. “Having carefully considered the evidence respecting the amount of cash paid by Mr. Schreiber to Mr. Mulroney, I have decided not to accept the evidence of either of them…” Mulroney gets lumped in with Schreiber as not believable.
Over and over Justice Oliphant says that Mulroney’s sworn testimony was unbelievable, in other words he was lying.
“I must view with skepticism Mr. Mulroney’s claim to have spoken to the leaders referred to in the preceding paragraphs. The evidence of Mr. Bild, a former Canadian ambassador to China, caused me to seriously question the credibility of Mr. Mulroney’s evidence respecting his meeting…. I am therefore unable to conclude that Mr. Mulroney spoke to the Chinese leaders, as asserted by him.”
“The basic reason proffered by Mr. Mulroney for accepting and maintaining the monies he received from Mr. Schreiber in cash is that he made a significant error in judgment. I confess to having a considerable problem with that explanation. Mr. Mulroney says he hesitated before accepting the first instalment in cash. Nonetheless, he accepted the cash. If it was a significant error in judgment that caused him to accept cash in the context in which that occurred, the judgmental error could easily have been rectified by Mr. Mulroney. In my view, the fact that Mr. Mulroney did nothing of the sort detracts from his credibility on that point.”
On hiding the $300,000 in cash payments, Oliphant said “I therefore conclude that the reason Mr. Schreiber made the payments in cash and Mr. Mulroney accepted them in cash was that they both wanted to conceal the fact that the transactions had occurred between them.”
“The answer is that Mr. Mulroney wanted to conceal the fact that he had received money from Mr. Schreiber.”
1996 court case
More damming again was Oliphant’s finding that Mulroney lied or tried to deceive the court with cute answers in his court case against the government.
“Mr. Wolson pressed Mr. Mulroney more than once as to why, during the course of his being examined before plea, he had failed to disclose his dealings with and the payments from Mr. Schreiber. On each occasion, Mr. Mulroney responded in one or more of the following ways: that he had been advised by his counsel not to answer any question that was not within the parameters of the statement of claim; that he had also been advised by his counsel not to volunteer information; and that Mr. Sheppard had failed to ask the right question.”
“Advice to a person about to be examined not to volunteer information is good legal advice. However, in my view, not volunteering information is substantially different from avoiding answering legitimate, proper questions to which no objection has been taken by counsel for the person being examined. I also note that, while a witness being examined before plea is obliged to answer only those questions that fall within the confines of the statement of claim, if a person does not object to a question and chooses to answer it, he or she must do so truthfully and fully.”
“When he gave that answer, Mr. Mulroney knew about his commercial transaction with Mr. Schreiber. He also knew that, within a few miles of the courthouse in Montreal, he had either $150,000 or $200,000 in cash sitting dormant in a safe in his residence, not to mention a further $75,000 or $100,000 again, in cash, sitting in a safety deposit box in a bank in New York.”
“In response to another question Mr. Sheppard asked about discussions he might have had with Mr. Schreiber after he knew about the LOR, Mr. Mulroney responded that his principal preoccupation was not Mr. Schreiber’s business dealings. He then stated, “I had never had any dealings with him.”
“For Mr. Mulroney to attempt to justify his failure to make disclosure in those circumstances by asserting that Mr. Sheppard did not ask the correct question is, in my view, patently absurd. It was not Mr. Sheppard’s question that was problematic; rather, it was Mr. Mulroney’s answer to the question. What the question called for was a clear, complete, forthright answer. Some may suggest that Mr. Mulroney’s answer was not complete, while others may say it was not forthright. It is sufficient for my purpose to say that Mr. Mulroney’s answer to Mr. Sheppard’s question failed to disclose appropriately the facts of which Mr. Mulroney was well aware, when such disclosure was clearly called for.”
“And that answer was not forthcoming from Mr. Mulroney.”
“I find that Mr. Mulroney acted inappropriately in failing to disclose his dealings with Mr. Schreiber and the payments he received when he gave evidence at his examination before plea in 1996.”
Video copyright CBC News. All quotations from Justice Oliphant’s Final Statement