Contrecoeur case: Crown won't appeal not-guilty verdicts

Contrecoeur case: Crown won't appeal not-guilty verdicts
Contrecoeur case: Crown won't appeal not-guilty verdicts

An appeal was only possible if the Crown had grounds to argue an error in law in the ruling.

Frank Zampino, former head of Montreal's executive committee, follows his lawyers into the courtroom for the verdicts in the Contrecoeur fraud trial in Montreal Wednesday May 2, 2018.

Frank Zampino, former head of Montreal's executive committee, follows his lawyers into the courtroom for the verdicts in the Contrecoeur fraud trial in Montreal Wednesday May 2, 2018. John Mahoney / Montreal Gazette

The Crown has announced it won’t appeal last month’s not-guilty verdicts in the Contrecoeur case.

In a tweet posted Friday morning, the Crown said it made the decision following “a careful analysis of the legal issues.”

On May 2, Court of Quebec Judge Yvan Poulin acquitted former Montreal city executive committee chairman Frank Zampino, businessman Paolo Catania and four former executives of Catania’s firm, Construction Frank Catania et Associés Inc., in connection with the 2007 sale of city land known as the Faubourg Contrecoeur.

Zampino, who left politics in 2008, was facing charges of fraud, conspiracy and breach of trust.

An appeal was only possible if the Crown had grounds to argue an error in law in Poulin’s ruling.

“With respect, although we cannot share the opinion of the court as to the assessment of the evidence, this does not constitute a reason for bringing the case to an appeal,” Crown spokesperson Jean Pascal Boucher said.

The accused were arrested in 2012. The trial, which began in February 2016, lasted two years.

The Crown has not said whether it will drop the charges against the remaining person awaiting trial in the Contrecoeur case.

Bernard Trépanier, who was the chief fundraiser for Union Montreal, the party of Zampino and former mayor Gérald Tremblay, had his trial indefinitely postponed earlier this year because his cancer has worsened. However, there are periodic hearings in his case to inform the judge on his condition.

Trépanier’s next hearing is scheduled for June 27, where it’s expected the Crown will say whether it intends to pursue the case against him.

Meanwhile, Zampino and Trépanier have another case pending against them. They were arrested last September in connection with Montreal’s awarding of municipal engineering contracts.

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