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SNCLavalin loses court bid for special agreement to avoid criminal prosecution

OTTAWA — SNC-Lavalin has a lost a court bid to overturn the public prosecutor’s refusal to negotiate an agreement that would see the company avoid a criminal trial.In a ruling Friday, the Federal Court of Canada tossed out the Montreal-based engineering firm’s plea for judicial review of the 2018 decision by the director of public prosecutions.SNC-Lavalin faces accusations it paid bribes to obtain government business in Libya — a criminal case that has prompted a political storm for the Trudeau Liberals. Here’s what a 10-year ban on federal contract bids would mean for SNC-Lavalin Why Jody Wilson-Raybould likely never pushed prosecutors to settle the case against SNC-Lavalin Here’s how a new escape route could open up for SNC-Lavalin The company unsuccessfully pressed the director of prosecutions to negotiate a “remediation agreement,” a legal means of holding an organization to account for wrongdoing without criminal proceedings.The director told SNC-Lavalin last year that negotiating a remediation agreement would be inappropriate in this case, and the company asked the Federal Court for an order requiring talks.In her ruling Friday, Federal Court Justice Catherine Kane said prosecutorial decision-making is not subject to judicial review, except for cases where there is an abuse of process.“The decision at issue — whether to invite an organization to enter into negotiations for a remediation agreement — clearly falls within the ambit of prosecutorial discretion and the nature of decisions that prosecutors are regularly called to make in criminal proceedings,” she wrote.In any event, the Federal Court would not have jurisdiction to review such a decision of the director of public prosecutions as the prosecutor’s authority flows from the common law, not a federal statute, Kane added.SNC-Lavalin finds itself at the centre of a political tempest over allegations prime ministerial aides leaned on former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould to help the company avoid prosecution.Wilson-Raybould told the House of Commons justice committee late last month that she came under relentless pressure from the Prime Minister’s Office and other federal officials to ensure the company was invited to negotiate a remediation agreement.Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his former principal secretary, Gerald Butts, have disputed the notion any inappropriate arm-twisting of Wilson-Raybould took place.Meanwhile, SNC-Lavalin’s court action simmered away in the background.In its Oct. 19 submission to the Federal Court, the company said while the public prosecutor has discretion to decide whether to open negotiations on a remediation agreement, this discretion “is not unfettered and must be exercised reasonably” under the law.The company said it provided the prosecutor’s office with information showing the objectives of the remediation provisions were “easily met,” including details of SNC-Lavalin’s efforts to implement a world-class ethics and compliance program, as well as the complete turnover of the company’s senior management and board of directors.The company also cited the “negative impact of the ongoing uncertainty related to the charges” on its business.In a Jan. 8 response filed with the court, the director of prosecutions said SNC-Lavalin’s argument is “bereft of any possibility of success and should be struck.”While SNC-Lavalin has the right to be assumed innocent and to a fair trial, it has “no right or entitlement” under common or criminal law to be invited to negotiate a remediation agreement, the director said. read more

Dame June Whitfield star of Ab Fab and Terry and June dies

Actress and comedian Miranda Hart tweeted to say that Dame June’s death was “so very sad” and that the star had sponsored one of Hart’s first performances at the Edinburgh Fringe.Hart, said: “Fifteen years later when I met her she had all my letters and the notes of the show she sponsored. I cried then too.”Jon Plowman, the television producer, who worked with Dame June on Absolutely Fabulous and the 2016 film version, tweeted to say he was “very sad”.“There was no one with more warmth or a better ability to just ‘place’ a line, always an act of utter precision. Hit after hit! Take It From Here, Terry And June, Absolutely Fabulous over seven decades. A great loss,” he said. Joanna Lumley has described herself as “heartbroken” at the news of her friend’s passing.Fellow Ab Fab actress Lumley appeared on ITV news to share her sadness at the death of her co-star.She said: “I am heartbroken to lose such a darling friend and shall never forget her sensational talent, humour and her generosity to us all who had the joy of working with her on Ab Fab.”She will always have a most special place in my heart.” RIP June Whitfield- go-to comedy actress for 3 generations, from 60s radio to 70s, 80s, even 90s TV. Always graceful & elegant with a real comic glint in her eye & (absolutely) fabulous timing.— Rory Bremner (@rorybremner) December 29, 2018 Tributes to her long and successful career in comedy were quick to come in from fellow stars last night. Impressionist Rory Bremner said: “From Sixties radio to Seventies, Eighties, even Nineties TV. Always graceful and elegant with a real comic glint in her eye and (absolutely) fabulous timing.”Her Absolutely Fabulous co-star on the show Julia Sawalha paid a touching tribute to her friend and teacher in an online post, tenderly calling the late actress “Gran”. Dame June was born in Streatham, south London, in 1925 and was evacuated from the capital during the Second World War.She graduated from the Royal Academy Of Dramatic Art prior to the end of the conflict, and her career in entertainment began with West End stage work.Dame June went on to establish herself as a constant presence in British post-war comedy and was praised for her roles as the female companion to some of the era’s most famous entertainers.She often described herself as a “comic’s tart”, but she established herself in a star as her own right, featuring in more than 1,300 radio and television shows across her long career. Thank you #damejunewhitfield,for teaching me my craft with such grace and dignity.I always wanted you to know how in awe of you I was, however, you were always far too humble to accept my https://t.co/2wc2G3bQ0G were a great source of inspiration to me. Bye-bye Gran.🙏🏻💕— Julia Sawalha (@JuliaSawalha1) December 29, 2018 Dame June met her husband Tim Aitchison in the 1950s. The pair went on to have a daughter, Suzy, who followed in her mother’s footsteps and became an actress.She called her autobiography …and June Whitfield, in a nod to fact that she always got second billing.”The greatest of show business mysteries,” Denis Norden once said, “was how anyone could contemplate doing a comedy show without June Whitfield.”Whitfield made her first stage appearance at the age of three. Her first big break came on radio when she appeared in Take It From Here before she made her first appearance in 1968 on Terry Scott’s sketch show Scott On. The two had a long partnership on screen, with five years as a married couple in Happily Ever After and eight more years in Terry And June.Shane Allen, controller of BBC Comedy, said: “June Whitfield was the North Star of British”She was the go-to female comedy performer of her generation and was always in demand from the cream of British comedy.” So very sad. I once sent a letter to many actors as a budding (I mean desperate) comedy actor to ask for sponsorship for the Edinburgh Festival. Dame June replied. Fifteen years later when I met her she had all my letters and the notes of the show she sponsored. I cried then too. https://t.co/oaGXd7ick4— Miranda Hart (@mermhart) December 29, 2018 Dame June Whitfield, who delighted television and radio audiences for seven decades, has died aged 93.The comic actress enjoyed a career stretching back to the 1940s, including roles in the Carry On films and the sitcoms Terry And June and Absolutely Fabulous.She was made a dame in the 2017 Birthday Honours for her services to drama and entertainment in a career spanning eight decades.Dame June’s agent said on Saturday that she “passed away peacefully” on Friday night.The star is well known for playing the mother of Jennifer Saunders’ character Edina Monsoon in the hit BBC show Absolutely Fabulous.Dame June also appeared in numerous Radio 4 productions during her career, and played Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple.She was granted an OBE at the 1985 Birthday Honours, and was made a CBE in 1998. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? 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