Federal Court Justice Richard Mosley has ruled that the applicants in the recent high-profile election fraud legal challenge will not have to pay the Conservative Party $355,907 in legal costs, ruling on a reimbursement request that was filed this past June.
The Tory MPs wanted the nine individuals who launched the case to pay for the Conservatives' lawyers – even though they were the ones who needlessly drove up the cost by bringing multiple procedural motions to keep the case from being heard. At the time of his ruling, the judge called these delaying tactics "trench warfare."
"I'm pleased that the judge recognized the merits of our case and the integrity which our lawyers, the Council of Canadians and all the applicants brought forward," said Peggy Walsh Craig, one of the applicants in the legal challenge. "And the lack of integrity and disrespect for democracy by the Conservative Party speaks volumes for all Canadians."
Rather than the $355,907 the Conservative MPs requested, the judge awarded them a modest amount -- the $1,000 security deposit for each application plus $6,206 in disbursements, for a total of $13,206. The applicants had previously been awarded $18,000 in costs on some of the procedural motions.
"This was a blatantly greedy claim by the by the Conservative Party. As a result, they got less than 5 per cent of what they asked for in yet another significant repudiation of the party's questionable legal tactics and sense of entitlement," said Garry Neil, Executive Director of the Council of Canadians, which supported the applicants' case. "In this ruling on costs, the judge made sure that such trench warfare was not rewarded. But we're disappointed that the Conservative MPs weren't punished for their attempts to shut down the case."
In his decision, the judge noted that "the applicants in this matter were genuine public interest litigants motivated by a higher purpose" who "stood to gain nothing other than the vindication of their electoral rights."
"Thanks to donations from thousands of generous Canadians, vindication is exactly what the nine individual applicants received," said Neil. "It was in the original ruling that found that widespread voter suppression took place and that the likely source of the data used to perpetrate this fraud was the Conservative Party database. It's in this latest decision rebuking the Conservative MPs' outrageous demand for costs."
The Council of Canadians has launched a petition calling for a public inquiry into the 2011 election fraud and electoral reform legislation that would put a stop to election fraud.
"We need electoral reform legislation with real teeth to make sure something like this never happens again," said Neil.
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