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B.C. court overturns acquittals for former MP’s campaign official

Canadian Press

CRANBROOK, B.C. — A B.C. judge has overturned two acquittals for a Conservative MP's campaign official who was charged with several Elections Act violations.

Harvey Venier, who acted as the official agent for former Kootenay-Columbia MP Jim Abbott, was charged with several offences related to paperwork he filed after the 2006 and 2008 federal elections.

He stood trial last October and was acquitted of four counts related to various reporting requirements, while he pleaded guilty to failing to open a separate bank account for the election and received an absolute discharge.

The federal Crown appealed the acquittals on two of the counts, arguing the judge was wrong when he concluded there was no evidence to support those charges.

A B.C. Supreme Court judge has set aside those acquittals, though the ruling questions whether it would make sense to proceed with a new trial against Venier, who was not accused of any financial impropriety.

Abbott has since retired from politics and did not run in the 2011 election, when he was replaced by Conservative David Wilks.

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