TORONTO – Two of former Ontario premier Dalton McGuinty’s top staffers are set to go on trial in September 2017 on breach of trust and mischief charges.
David Livingston and Laura Miller, who were McGuinty’s chief of staff and deputy chief of staff, were charged after a police investigation into the deletion of emails about the Liberals’ decision to cancel two gas plants prior to the 2011 election, at a cost of up to $1.1 billion.
They face charges of breach of trust, mischief in relation to data and misuse of a computer system to commit the offence of mischief.
Police have alleged in court documents that Livingston and Miller hired her partner – a computer expert under contract to the Liberals – to wipe clean about 20 hard drives in the premier’s office.
Both Miller and Livingston have denied the charges.
Their lawyers appeared in court Thursday and scheduled the trial for six weeks starting Sept. 11, 2017.
The case will also be back in court June 28 of this year for a disclosure motion, and Feb. 21, 2017 for a focus hearing.
The federal Crown is prosecuting the case instead of Ontario’s Ministry of the Attorney General.
Miller has accused the provincial police of having a bias against her because of a complaint she filed with the Ontario Independent Police Review Director. She has raised more than $74,000 to fund her defence through a crowdsourcing website.
Miller now works as the B.C. Liberal Party’s executive director. She stepped down when the charges were laid last year, but the party’s executive board reappointed her in March.
It was the Ontario Liberals’ initial refusal to hand over gas plant documents to the legislature’s justice committee that sparked a contempt debate that eventually forced McGuinty to resign as premier under a cloud of scandal in October 2012.
Wynne has apologized repeatedly for the gas plants scandal, which the opposition parties called “an expensive Liberal seat-saver campaign.”
The gas plants scandal is one of several criminal investigations the Liberals have faced.
The Ontario Provincial Police are looking into financial irregularities at the Ornge air ambulance service, and potential breaches of a bribery section of the Election Act related to a 2015 byelection in Sudbury, Ont. A Liberal fundraiser was charged in a criminal investigation over the same byelection allegations, but those charges were stayed.
The provincial police also recently started another investigation after Trillium Power Wind Corp. complained to police about the alleged destruction of documents in a lawsuit it filed against the province.