Mayor Rob Ford will be back in court Monday fighting for his job.
An appeal of the conflict of interest ruling against him will be heard at Osgoode Hall in courtroom 3.
In November, Justice Charles Hackland ruled that Ford violated the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act last February, by voting that he not have to repay over $3150 he raised for his football foundation. The donations were solicited using city letter head.
Before a 3-judge panel, Ford's lawyer Alan Lenczner will argue Hackland made 4 errors of law in coming up with his ruling.
The key is what municipal law expert John Mascarin calls the "fruit from the poisonous tree argument".
Council's code of conduct spells out that if someone breaks rules of the City of Toronto Act, council can do 1 of 2 things--publicly reprimand them or suspend their pay. Lenczner will contend council had no right to follow the integrity commissioner's advice & try to get Ford to pay the football donations back.
Ford's legal team reasons there's nothing keeping the mayor from speaking on the issue because it wasn't legal to begin with. Mascarin calls that a "red herring" & "an absolutely absurd argument".
While Mascarin admits council messed up, he says Rob Ford's actions are most important.
Lenczner expects to take a couple hours to present his arguments, then Clayton Ruby, lawyer for complainant Paul Magder, will get a chance. After Ruby speaks, Lenczner will have the opportunity to respond.
The appeal panel made up of Justice Lynne Leitch, Justice Katherine Swinton & Regional Senior Justice Edward Then will draft their ruling based on what they hear in court Monday, plus material from the initial hearing & Justice Hackland's decision.
Mascarin says they do have the authority to order a new court case, but he's never seen that happen.
Mascarin says it's unlikely the panel will make a decision Monday, but he does expect the ruling to come quickly, by early February at the latest.
Mascarin explains one of the judges will take a leadership role & craft a decision, then show it to the other panelists. They could sign off on it, suggests tweaks or disagree & type up their own decisions.
Mascarin expects the appeal panel will unanimously uphold Justice Hackland's decision.
If they do, Rob Ford is out as mayor of Toronto. Council would then have 90 days to either appoint a mayor or call a byelection. Ford wants council to return him the mayor's office if he loses his appeal, but says he's also ready to run in a byelection.
Siobhan Morris reports