For the defence
Skakun’s final arguments check in at a relatively lithe 20 pages.
Defence counsel Jon Duncan says there are just two factual issues for the judge to decide: Has the Crown established beyond a reasonable doubt the date of disclosure? If so, does the whisteblower defence apply?
On the date issue, Skakun testified he gave the report to someone at the CBC, which published it on Aug. 19, 2008, but he could not remember when or to whom he handed it over.
“But he is adamant that the disclosure did not occur the day before (the report) was posted on the CBC website,” Duncan wrote.
That contradicts testimony from Debora Munoz, a fellow city councillor who testified that Skakun confessed to her in September 2008 that he gave the Heller report to CBC, and did not expect to see it put online the very next day.
Duncan says Munoz displayed ill-will towards Skakun, with whom she was once romantically linked, and “was wholly unwilling to concede simple things which would paint Mr. Skakun in a good light.” So her evidence “ought to be treated with great caution.”
Further, the lawyer adds, some of the other documents Skakun turned over to the CBC appeared in the media as early as August 12, lending credibility to the notion that the disclosure happened prior to August 14.
Duncan closes out the timeline section by noting the whole issue could have been avoided if the Crown had filed with the court a certificate from the Ministry of Citizen Services to extend the one-year period under which the charge had to be sworn.
On the notion of the whistleblower defence, Duncan says his client is “entitled to an acquittal on the basis that he disclosed information that was legitimately a matter of public interest.”
Skakun, he writes, exposed a “cover-up orchestrated by city officials in order to protect favoured employees at the expense of real victims.”
He also writes that Skakun had divided loyalties between the city and the public. In such cases, elected officials “cannot be silenced by reference to a duty of loyalty to the municipality when they also have a clear duty to their electors.”