Former MP Raj Grewal sues for damages following acquittal last year
Posted Feb 11, 2024 05:22:01 PM.
Last Updated Feb 11, 2024 05:26:11 PM.
OTTAWA — Former Liberal MP Raj Grewal is seeking millions of dollars in damages from the RCMP and the Ontario attorney general after being acquitted of using his political office for personal gain.
In a statement of claim filed in Ontario Superior Court, Grewal’s counsel alleges the Mounties were negligent in their investigation and that the Crown breached his right to a fair trial by unreasonably pursuing the prosecution.
Grewal left the federal Liberal caucus in 2018 after his gambling problem came to light, and he chose not to run for re-election in the Ontario riding of Brampton East the following year.
In 2020, the RCMP charged him with four counts of breach of trust and one count of fraud over $5,000.
The Crown alleged that Grewal offered access to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and help with immigration files in exchange for large loans that went toward his gambling debt.
A judge concluded that a reasonable jury, given proper instruction, would not have been able to return a guilty verdict, and she therefore acquitted Grewal of the two breach of trust counts still on the table at that point.
Grewal says while he sought financial help from friends and family to cover gambling losses, he never did so in connection with his duties or privileges as an MP.
“The fundamental flaws in the case against Mr. Grewal were obvious from the early stages of the investigation,” reads the statement of claim.
“The State must not be permitted to use the coercive powers of the criminal justice system to pursue meritless charges.”
Grewal’s acquittal, on its own, does not rectify or excuse the RCMP’s negligence and the Crown’s misuse of the criminal justice system, adds the statement.
It says Grewal suffered “significant and ongoing damages” as a result of these actions, as he was forced to live with the social stigma of being an accused person and suffered irreparable damage to his budding political career.
“He was also forced to incur the significant expense of retaining and instructing counsel to represent him in a criminal proceeding that lasted far longer than it reasonably should have,” the statement reads.
“To this day, as the enduring damage to his reputation persists despite his acquittal, Mr. Grewal continues to face difficulty obtaining reasonable financing to purchase commercial and personal assets, among other business losses.”
The provincial attorney general and the RCMP will have an opportunity to respond to Grewal’s unproven allegations as the court case unfolds.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 11, 2024.
The Canadian Press