Crown wraps case on second day of Fontana trial
Day two of the trial for London Mayor Joe Fontana began with more video of his interrogation by RCMP investigators and ended with testimony from Parliament Hill workers.
During the videotaped conversation, an officer tells Fontana he is the only one who benefits from the government cheque in question and that there was no reception for constituents since he was in Ottawa at the time.
On the tape, RCMP Const. Shawn Devine says "There's nobody else that could have done this, this story needs some answers. It's time to admit that's what you did."
He continues "If you commit a forgery of $1,700 you'd remember that. Innocent people tell their side of the story and I haven't heard Joe Fontana's."
Fontana responds "This is the first time I've seen this document, the dates don't figure...You've done a good job laying it out for me, but I can't admit to anything."
The contract in questions shows a booking date at the Marconi Club of Feb. 25, 2004 - not the June 2005 wedding date of Fontana's son.
After more than three hours of interrogation Fontana says, "I don't want to answer any more questions, it's nothing personal."
During cross-examination, defence attorney Gord Cudmore pointed out that MP Ralph Goodale was in London on Feb. 25, 2005, exactly a year later on the same date the contract with the Marconi Club was altered to indicate.
Also on the stand Tuesday was Michel Champagne, the accounting officer in the House of Commons who issued the cheque.
He told the court "I processed it because I deemed it was legitimate. It was a reimbursement to Mr. Joe Fontana."
On Monday, Fontana pleaded not guilty to fraud, uttering a forged document and breach of trust by a public official.
Cudmore said Fontana admits to altering a contract that he submitted for expenses while he was an MP, but that the $1,700 the government paid out in was not for his son's wedding in 2005.
The Crown alleges Fontana wrote a $1,700 cheque as a deposit for his son's 2005 wedding reception at the Marconi Club in London then submitted a claim for government expenses.
The Crown says records seized from the Marconi Club show five cheques were used to make payment on the wedding, the fifth being a Government of Canada cheque.
The trial expected to be over by Thursday with a verdict in the next few weeks.
With files from The Canadian Press