Monday, December 3, 2007

Schreiber's lawyer calls committee a 'circus'

Probably Greenspan is jealous that he does not get to be ringmaster in the circus and control all the animals. At least, for the first show the animals were relatively tame and well behaved. However, Schreiber refused to do many tricks until
he has time to read up on his scripts.

Schreiber's lawyer calls committee a 'circus'
Updated Sun. Dec. 2 2007 4:38 PM ET News Staff

Karlheinz Schreiber's lawyer says the parliamentary committee process reviewing his client's dealings with former prime minister Brian Mulroney is a "mockery of justice."

Edward Greenspan told CTV's Question Period on Sunday that the process is unfair because a lawyer cannot do any of the things at a committee hearing that one normally does for a client during court proceedings.

"A lawyer is not entitled to make an opening statement. A lawyer is not entitled to object to questions. A lawyer is not entitled to ask questions in chief of his client or to cross-examine, and a lawyer is not entitled to make a closing statement," Greenspan said.

"In other words, a lawyer has to sit there and shut up."

"I'm not a potted plant. I'm not going to go to that kind of process," said Greenspan, who didn't appear at Thursday's hearing. "It's not a fair process ... it's a political circus."

The high-profile lawyer said the process involves MPs asking questions without really caring what the answers are.

In his appearance before the House of Commons ethics committee to explain a controversial $300,000 in payments to Mulroney, Schreiber made an opening statement that he co-wrote with Greenspan, but then went further in answering some questions.

Greenspan said he would have preferred his client, who is potentially facing extradition to Germany, not speak until certain conditions were met.

"But he decided to speak. That's his choice. I am only a lawyer and adviser," he said.

Greenspan said he wouldn't be writing any more statements on Schreiber's behalf.

He would rather see his client testify at a public inquiry where Schreiber would be entitled to actual representation.

Schreiber is scheduled to return to the committee on Tuesday.

Ethics committee members respond

"I find it a little bit disappointing coming from a member of the bar, such a lack of respect for Parliamentary institutions," NDP deputy leader Thomas Mulcair told Question Period.

"I think anyone who was there -- and Mr. Greenspan was not -- was able to see it was quite a respectful atmosphere."

Schreiber will have this weekend to review his papers in this complex case, he said.

Liberal MP Brian Murphy told Question Period the parliamentary process is unquestionably different from a criminal trial.

"We're doing our job ... the story is how did government run from 1984 to date with respects to envelopes of cash given to politicians?"

Mulroney has insisted he did nothing wrong. Schreiber did say on Thursday there was nothing illegal about his dealings with Mulroney.

Conservative MP Russ Heibert told Question Period that the best place to get answers is through a public inquiry.

"I'm hoping that we can perhaps scratch the surface with some of the issues that we're going to have a chance to look at in the next couple of weeks. But at the end of the day, we're going to have to look to the public inquiry for answers."

Greenspan said he thinks Prime Minister Stephen Harper doesn't want a public inquiry and wants to see his client extradited to Germany to face corruption-related charges.

Hiebert described that as nonsense -- then accused the opposition of wanting to drag the process out as long as possible for partisan purposes.

Mulcair said Justice Minister Rob Nicholson has the power to keep Schreiber in the country.

The Supreme Court has agreed to consider Schreiber's application to appeal the extradition order against him. Schreiber will be allowed to stay in Canada at least until that ruling is delivered on whether the high court will hear the appeal, the Ontario Court of Appeal ruled Friday.

Greenspan is trying to get his client out on bail in the meantime.

The terms of reference for the public inquiry are expected to be announced in January.


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