Rob Ford’s political future is the focus of a hearing today as the Toronto Mayor heads to court to appeal his conflict-of-interest case.
A three-judge panel will hear arguments about a lower court ruling that ordered Mr. Ford removed from office for violating Ontario’s municipal conflict-of-interest law. Mr. Ford won a stay of that ruling until his appeal is decided, which might take weeks.
If Mr. Ford’s appeal is successful, he’ll stay on as mayor. If not, city council will have to decide whether to call a by-election or appoint a replacement to serve until the next election in October, 2014.
Packed courtroom waits for start of Mayor Rob Ford appeal. Waiting for word on whether we will be allowed to tweet. #Topoli #fordcourt
Alan Lenczner, Ford's lawyer, has taken up his position at the podium facing the judges on the Ford appeal. #Fordcourt
Now Clayton Ruby, the lawyer fighting the Ford appeal, has entered the courtroom. #Fordcourt
Still no sign of the mayor himself in the courtroom. #Fordcourt
Mayor Rob Ford's press sec peeks into courtroom. Mayor Ford leads against rail in gallery outside. #fordcourt
Mayor Ford, Cllr Ford take seats. #fordcourt
Court is in session in the matter of Robert Ford. #Fordcourt
Court told will not allow tweeting from courtroom. #fordcourt
Judge Edward Then says the three judges have read up thoroughly on the case beforehand. #Fordcourt
Alan Lenczner begins his case for overturning the ruling ejecting Ford from office. Says "there was absolutely no" corruption here.
Mayor Ford's lawyer Alan Lenczner begins his case. #fordcourt
Lenczner says Ford's was an "unfortunate but arguably technical breach" of the law. #Fordcourt
Lenczner is arguing point one of his case: that council was acting outside its powers: ultra vires, as lawyers call it. #Fordcourt
Lenczner argues council only had powers to issue a reprimand or dock Ford's pay, not order him to pay donation money back. #Fordcourt
Ford's lawyer argues act not allow council to impose penalty it did. Reads French version to stress point. "It couldn't be any clearer. "
Lenczner is arguing that the law in this case is clear and specific. He is rebutting Ruby's contention that municipalities have broad power.
Lenczner says the trial judge took an earlier ruling on municipal powers "completely out of context" when he ruled against Ford. #Fordcourt
Lenczner sums up case law "the error of the trial judge boils down to this," used broad reading of power when specific penalties given.
Justice Then now questions this argument. #fordcourt
If council wants to claim extra powers, says Lenczner, "good for them," but the courts have to judge what's in the law. #Fordcourt
Lenczner: "A judge has to stick with the wording of the act," says act allows just 2 penalties. #fordcourt
An agitated Lenczner argues that the trial judge effectively said: "I'll just make something up out of whole cloth that I think is right."
Deputy mayor Doug Holyday now standing in corner at back of courtroom. #fordcourt
Rob and Doug Ford, sitting side by side, are taking notes while Lenczner speaks. A court artist is sketching the scene. #Fordcourt
Lenczner is now arguing that the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act should not have been applied to a code of conduct matter like Ford's.
Ford's lawyer moves to 2nd pt: that conflict of interest act not deal w code of conduct. "One is conflict the other conduct." #fordcourt
"That is maybe not as clear as it could be," he says, to laughter from crowd. #fordcourt
Justice Then interjects, says ruling from Justice Hackland is that two acts work together. #fordcourt
Lenczner argues the conflict of interest act is all about transparency when doing business with the city -- not about conduct matters.
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Lenczner asked by Justice Then to address case made by Clayton Ruby on his second pt. Says he will "it's'completely off base," he says
Lenczner calls removal from office a "draconian penalty" for a man who won election as mayor by more than 100,000 votes. #Fordcourt
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Lenczner refers to Draconian nature of act, says requires narrow reading. Notes Mayor elected by more than 100,000 votes. #fordcourt
As an aside, we are now at 90 min mark in appeal hearing. Wooden pews creaking under shifting bodies. #fordcourt
"Conflict, we all understand," says Lenczner. Conduct is something different. #Fordcourt
It is crazy if "You can't address the very body" that decides whether you have breached conduct rules, says Lenczner. #Fordcourt
#Fordcourt breaks for 15 minutes.
Court is back in session after its morning break. #Fordcourt
#fordcourt back in session. Mayor Ford and Cllr Ford return as lawyer continues to make his case.