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

Ohio State mens tennis wins 200th in a row at home shuts

Freshman Mikael Torpegaard hits the ball during a match against USF at the Varsity Tennis Center on Feb. 8. OSU won, 4-0. Credit: Mark Batke / Photo editorAs one streak ended for Ohio State’s men’s tennis team, the Buckeyes fought Sunday afternoon to keep another alive. One week after its first loss of the season — to Texas A&M — OSU won its 200th consecutive home match Sunday against University of South Florida, 4-0.“To have something that might live forever, I mean, who knows if that streak ever gets broken … And to be able to say, ‘You know what? We’ve got the longest win streak in the history of any sport,’” OSU coach Ty Tucker said. “They could be 80 years old and still be able to say (that).”Tucker has been there from one to 200. He started as the coach at OSU in 1999, and the Buckeyes’ last loss at home came against Illinois in 2003. Tucker said he gives most of the credit for the streak to players throughout the years.“It’s pretty impressive, 200 home wins in a row … 35, 40 good athletes through that streak,” Tucker said. “They made it happen and I get a little bit of the credit.”As if there was not enough pressure coming off of their first loss of the season, Tucker said guys from 10 years ago had been reaching out to the current Buckeyes all week “putting a little added pressure on them.”Redshirt-senior Kevin Metka said it wasn’t talked about that much this week among the team though, because the team was “mostly trying to regroup from a tough loss last week.”Tucker said that it’s nice to have win No. 200 out of the way, but in some of the seniors’ minds, there is still more to prove.“We’re still going to have lots of home matches that are tough the rest of the year that we want to continue to win,” Metka said.Redshirt-senior Hunter Callahan agreed, pointing out that they still need to win seven more home matches for the seniors to leave without losing a match at home.The 200th win was not handed to the Buckeyes, as No. 25 USF put up a fight on all courts.Redshirt-sophomore Ralf Steinbach and Metka dropped their doubles match, 6-4, as the other two Buckeye pairs went into tiebreakers.“You can’t prepare for that. Nothing that we do in practice is anything close to that intensity,” Callahan said.Callahan and redshirt-junior Chris Diaz came out on top 7-6 (7-4), followed by a win from freshman Mikael Torpegaard and sophomore Herkko Pollanen 7-6 (7-3).With the doubles point in hand, the Buckeyes headed to singles court. Callahan wrapped up a win first, 6-3, 6-2. Torpegaard stamped his win next, defeating sophomore Sasha Gozun, 7-5, 6-3. The final victory to preserve the streak came from Metka, who came out on top, 6-3, 7-5.The Buckeyes have little time to celebrate this occasion with the NCAA Indoor Championship coming up this weekend in Chicago, but Metka said win 200 helped get the team ready.“It was a good preparation for going to national indoors this week,” he said. read more