Senator Mike Duffy has been cleared of all 31 fraud, breach of trust and bribery charges laid against him.
Ontario Court Justice Charles Vaillancourt delivered his decision on Thursday afternoon after 62 days of hearings.
The 308 page decision amounts to a complete vindication for Duffy and a scathing indictment of the tactics of the Prime Minister’s Office under Stephen Harper.
Duffy faced 30 fraud and breach of trust charges relating to Senate money the Crown alleged Duffy either received for trips that had nothing to do with Senate work or that he funnelled through his friend, Gerald Donohue’s company to cover costs for editorial services, make-up and fitness training.
Vaillancourt deemed these payments “appropriate” and said there was no evidence of kickbacks or altered invoices.
Duffy also faced one bribery charge stemming from Stephen Harper’s former chief of staff Nigel Wright’s decision to personally pay the $90,000 in living expenses Duffy claimed by declaring his long-time home in an Ottawa suburb was actually a secondary residence.
The senator had pleaded not guilty to all charges.
Speaking outside the courthouse, Duffy’s lawyer, Donald Bayne, said his client had ”been subjected for the last two and half, three years, to more public humiliation than probably any Canadian in history,” he said that Duffy had been begging for a hearing and ”he got his hearing today before an outstanding judge”.
Bayne added that in 44 years of practicing law, he has never seen such a resounding acquittal.
Senator Duffy celebrated the ruling with hugs and handshakes but declined to comment as he left the courthouse.
Meanwhile, following his acquittal, Senate officials have announced that Duffy is now back in the senate and once again has access to his office and all the resources of the upper chamber.